September 11, 2015

Remembering

September 11, 2015 {254/365} Remembering

As I walked across campus shortly after 8:00 am, at almost exactly the time that the south tower of the World Trade Center was struck fourteen years ago today, I paused under our flag flying proudly yet somberly at half mast. The air was crisp and the sky was the same bright blue that it was on that tragic September morning that seems like yesterday for me. I was teaching communications to a group of eighth graders when a colleague entered my classroom and whispered in my ear to turn on news. In the minutes to follow, my room, one of the few with a television, quietly filled with teachers and students who watched in disbelief as the Twin Towers collapsed. The rest of the day was a blur of tears, phone calls, and parents arriving to hold their children close. 

This morning, as I entered the elementary school and navigated through a sea of excited students just beginning their day, it occurred to me that none of them was even born on that horrific day. In fact only our high school students were alive in 2001, and it is unlikely that any of them remembers the pain that so many Americans experienced on that Tuesday morning fourteen years ago. So rather than dwell on the fear and sorrow, perhaps our legacy to this generation and those that proceed them is to focus on our strength as a nation, on our love for our country, and on compassion and respect for diversity. And while we'll never forget that terrible day, Cardinal Timothy Dolan reminds us that "We must never allow September 11th to become a time for protest and division. Instead, this day must remain a time for promoting peace and mutual respect."