DEAR READERS: It has been 19 years since that fateful day when the world as we know it changed. We all remember where we were and what we were doing when we got wind of the planes flying into the World Trade Center and subsequently other buildings. Many of us lost family members and loved ones. The pain of loss remains alive within us.
And this year, thanks to COVID-19, the commemorative events that have historically occurred to acknowledge this tragedy will not be occurring -- not in full, anyway -- for safety’s sake. And yet, we remember and we mourn.
Every life is precious. And the fact that we lost several thousand souls during that harrowing day gives us pause -- not just for them, but for what it symbolized: Our belief that our country was safe from international terrorism was stripped away.
Since that time, in many ways, we as a nation have been exploring how we can find and cultivate a refreshed degree of harmony and peace in our world -- both on our shores and abroad. In this moment, we are standing at yet a new crossroads, where the cries for racial justice resound loudly as Americans of all backgrounds band together in a call for peace, dignity and humanity for all.
No matter what your political beliefs may be, I would like to think that all of us want our country, our neighborhoods, our homes and our families to be safe. We want to be able to walk down the street, exercise, go to work and enjoy each other’s company without fear of disease or violence.
And yet, we are plagued at this moment with those threats and more. It is incumbent upon us to face our challenges and figure out ways to work together so that we can walk toward freedom, safety and justice for all. Think about it: It cannot be that the remembrances that we stage each year for the fallen of 9/11 only hold onto that aftermath of peace for a moment. It cannot be that we feel stuck in a loop that doesn’t allow us to reach for justice that can be inclusive of all.
I do not accept that it will be only in retrospective moments that we can claim some measure of solace for our loved ones. I want all of us to recall the past and claim the best for our futures. We are a powerful nation, brimming with some of the best minds and hearts in this world. We have the capability to transform the ways in which we engage each other -- in times of conflict and in peace. Let us recall this grave day in history, 9/11, with new resolve for the future. With eyes wide open, let us commit to treating each other better -- here on our shores and worldwide -- because when we do that, we inspire peace among us all.
I offer my love and blessings to everyone during this time of remembrance. I offer my commitment to making those lives lost count as we work to ensure that those who are alive today will be able to safely thrive in the future.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)