You’ll hear and read those two words a lot today. And each and everyone of us will remember it differently. As I walk through the streets of New York City today, I’m smiling at everyone I see. I’m smiling because what I remember is a city that came together, united as one during a smoky nightmare. Strangers became family and instead of fighting for their own safety, they were more focused on fighting for one another. Americans had eachother’s backs. We had American flags flying from our car windows. We had signs on our front lawns. We wanted to scream our American pride from the rooftops and demonstrate our country’s unity on every canvas. But these acts of kindness, these acts of unity, even on a much smaller scale are often forgotten in the everyday mundane.
Unfortunately, it takes these moments of reflection to appreciate all the good there really is around us. Reminiscing on my 14 year old memories from 9/11 are never enjoyable but they always help to refocus my priorities and appreciation. Reminiscing reminds me to be thankful for the loved ones I have in my life, as I remember how so many friends have lost theirs. I am reminded to avoid judgement regarding race or ethnicity as so many innocent people were profiled and threatened. I am reminded that at any moment, something like this can happen again and I have to make sure I make the most of it all each and every day.
For those of you on the streets of New York City who are always on a mission and for those that are always in those people’s way, take a step back today and look at the bigger picture. There’s a big city around you. Full of possibilities, people and potential. So smile at one another. Or at nothing. Just smile because you’re alive. With great kindness and compassion, amazing things can happen, like they once did 14 years ago today in a time of tragedy. Because when bad things happen, we are all we have. And when good things happen, we are all we have.
Be the change you want to see in the world. Be the change you want to see in your city. Think about if you’d look at those around you and if you’d treat them any differently, if you were running from the same nightmare…