Tuesday, 11 September 2007


We were shaken.

We felt united.

We reflected on what was really important.

I say we, because in many ways it felt like "we", however individual and personal my own reaction may have been on that Tuesday morning six years ago. My own resolve to recommit myself to a greater purpose than simply making money and entertaining myself was a personal one, and yet in the days that followed our national tragedy, I held to the notion that out of this tragedy, comparable personal transformations throughout the nation and beyond were planting seeds for transformative movements of which few of us were even yet conceiving.

Much of my usual political filtering was dropped. When President Bush spoke, I really listened, believing that our shared loss transcended our partisan differences. It's not that I expected Bush to become liberal, or suddenly share my views on domestic policy, the environment, social issues, and so forth. But surely tragedy might beget honesty, and shared values could become our focus in response. And I was heartened by much of what I heard. The words were sober. The call on Americans to refrain from scapegoating those of Arab descent were welcome words, worthy of Presidential speech.

We needed a leader, and for the moment, in spite of our political differences, I believed we had one.

Six years later, after more contentious elections, dirty politics, and the usual influence of money on power, it is easy to be cynical and dismissive of the notion that individual transformations, borne of personal reactions to 9/11, might hold any hope for a brighter future. Certainly Karl Rove opportunistically played the 9/11 card to spawn divisiveness, rather than to inspire unity, and others on both sides of the political aisle responded in kind. But in 2006 Rove's plan finally backfired, and while reactions on the surface may all look to be partisan posturing, and the red vs. blue of a divided nation, I wouldn't sell short the power of memory.

I'm not giving up on the idea that personal transformations rooted in one moment may bring fruit in another. Ask not what ideology spawned the transformation or the activity which grew out of it, but rather whether it contributes to a brighter tomorrow. There are now over 300 million Americans. Our potential remains unknown. In the words of Margaret Mead, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

America, remember! You are not perfect, nor never have been, but you have long represented the land of the possible. Terrorists and ideologues cannot crush our spirit. Neither should a few missteps in response. Let us respond as befits a great people. Keep hope alive, work together, engage in open dialog, innovate, and thrive.



After all the time that has passed since 911, things can get distorted and out of perspective. So on a day like this, 6 years to the day of the horrific attacks against the US, we need reminders. We should watch videos like this:


It puts things into the proper perspective.

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