Yesterday was a day of remembrance—for many the worst day of their lives. The pain of a nation was embraced as we took a mental journey back to that day on 9/11 while we watched television and read stories of others’ losses. Ten years later, we still think of it as the most terrible day in the history of our land. Yet, there was one thing that arose out of the heap of melted metal and mortar—one thing that could not be destroyed. It was HOPE.
As the dedication of the 9/11 Memorial commemorates the HOPE of our nation today, we take pride in the words that are engraved on the memorial site, “No day shall erase you from the memory of time.” On the morning after tragedy, it is time to look forward. We can do nothing about the past but can do everything about the future.
In the past 10 years, many of you have faced a diversity of losses. Perhaps you have lost loved ones as I have. My own mother died on 9/11 a few years ago. Many have felt the fear of death with the diagnosis of breast cancer or have even lost someone you love to breast cancer. At a time of great loss, there are steps you can take toward hope.
Ten years ago, Rudy Giuliani, Mayor of NYC, took the first step toward hope and healing for New York City and our nation by being present in the aftermath of 9/11. He was everywhere assessing the damage, feeling the heartbeat of those who suffered, and standing with families who lost their loved ones. He was an example to us all as we face tragedies in our lives. We must take the first step of healing by opening ourselves up to the reality of what has happened. Though sometimes painful, there are those moments of truth when we have to take everything into account.
The second step occurred on 9/11 when President George W. Bush reminded our nation of who we are as he said, “Great tragedy has come to us, and we are meeting it with the best that is in our country, with courage and concern for others because this is America. This is who we are.” When he stood at the 9/11 site in the rubble of twisted steel, he spoke words of hope to those first responders, “I can hear you, the rest of the world can hear you and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon.” President Bush reminded us that we are a people of courage who would hold onto our faith and each other as we established the ground rules for going forward.
When everything within us is crying out in distress, that is the time to stand up and declare who we are. We are victors in the midst of our tragedy. We will not be victimized. We will be fearless.
Step three toward hope is to move forward. The people of NYC did not stop. They linked arms and moved forward. Our nation did not allow fear to overtake us. And, we cannot be overcome by any loss in our lives. Remember who you are. Hold onto those around you, even if they have to hold you up for a while. Then, step forward into your glorious future. Nothing can stop you with God’s help.
The Morning After
Yes, it is the morning after 9/11. It is a day of new beginnings and new hope. Look through the eyes of hope at your future. You will see it with new vision and clarity. It is the morning after, and we will become the nation we hope to be. It is the morning after, and we will turn our personal losses into strength. With that strength, we can move forward. God bless America, and God bless every one of you today.
Thought for Today:
“Only as high as I reach can I grow, only as far as I seek can I go, only as deep as I look can I see, only as much as I dream can I be.”—Karen Ravn