My Reflections on the 20th Anniversary of 9/11

The 20th Anniversary of the attacks that occurred on 9/11 is here and it’s been on my mind, though I don’t fully know how to explain, but I’m going to try.

So many have talked of where they were on that day, how they heard, what they experienced. My story is here in this blog post so I don’t feel I need to repeat it. 

Others have talked of the documentary on Netflix and how powerful it is. I’m sure it is! I just can’t bring myself to watch it. Yet.

When I think of 9/11 what comes to mind is the lives that were taken so quickly, including the brother of one of my former schoolmates.

 I think of those who had gone to work in a high-rise building in a downtown just like it was any other day, only that it wasn’t. Some made it to safety, most did not. 

I think of those that boarded a flight just as they probably had before, only to realize their fate.

I think of the first responders that did not hesitate one second to do the jobs they were trained to do, and the many that perished in doing so.

And I think of the way our country came together in the moments, days, weeks, and even months after, the number of clothing and food drives, the prayer vigils, the long lines to donate blood. I stood in one of them.

For me, 9/11 represents pain and loss and togetherness and hope all at the same time. But, it’s a difficult memory for me, and if you tack on the way our country has acted since then, especially the last few years, my heart…just… hurts.

What happened to the togetherness, the selflessness, the desire to help others, the support for our first responders and military (Taking a knee during the National Anthem is NOT supportive. At all.). What happened to U.S.? (pun intended) I feel like we replaced the United States of America with the DIVIDED States of America. And THAT’s what hurts the most.

Didn’t we learn ANYTHING from 9/11?

The amount of selfishness, the every man (or woman) for himself or “that’s not my problem” attitudes of the many, the “I’m not gonna let MY government dictate what I can or can’t do” thought process, all of it, sickens me to the very core as it is. Throw 9/11, the 20th anniversary of this fateful day in American history into the mix and well, dang, I feel stomped on. 

The 9/11 Memorial in NYC, November 2019 – Copyright Lisa A Sullivan

So, for me 9/11 cuts deeper than it did that day because America is so divided that I’m beginning to feel like my country will never be the country it should be. 

And yet, I also still believe in this country. I believe there are GOOD people out there working tirelessly to make a difference in their communities, bringing their children up with a selfless God-centered attitude, volunteering their time and talents where needed, and out there casting their votes on election day too. 

Maybe that’s why I gravitate toward feel good stories because the alternatives just help to tear us down (also why I never watch the news either).

Anyway, those are my thoughts on this anniversary of sorts.

You know what would be nice – if everyone on this day would just stop and think of the person they’ve become and for those that are selfish, un-giving, angry, bitter, that they realize it’s time for a positive change, and then make it.

Life is so short. You don’t know from one day to the next what’s going to happen. Live selfishly and bitterly, live all for yourself, and it’ll be a miserable life. But, find the positive and the blessings out of every day, do what you can to make a difference (to one person, your community, your nation), and love every single person you come in contact with, and I promise you, your life will be so much better. 

Remember the Greatest Commandment – love God and love others as He has loved us? I think many have forgotten this.

To all that sacrificed on this day and the days following, to the families still grieving, my heart hurts for you this anniversary and I pray for your peace and continued healing.

May God BLESS America…someday…again.


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