9/11: An Emergency Wake-Up Call

What good is an anniversary if we don’t reflect on what the experience memorializes and signifies?

A historical turning point, 9/11 exists in both past and present. It was a singular event and is a still-unfolding one. We don’t know all its consequences or how they’ll play out, but some lessons are apparent — most urgently the need for compassion and understanding in a world sputtering on ignorance, fear, greed, hatred, and pride. The second is the need for vigilance in protection of all that is worthy and good — which includes not just life and property but the values that give existence meaning beyond mere survival.

Profound and eternal gratitude is owed to the known and unknown heroes of that horrific  day a decade ago and to all those who have honorably prevented any further attack on our beloved homeland. But how have we’ve done in safeguarding everything else that we cherish, or should? We cannot leave it to others — 911 is an emergency call for all of us to wake up and do our part. Love is the coolant to the world’s burning questions.

How can one respond with “love” when it’s security or jobs or food that are needed? People can’t eat empathy, after all … but they can surely choke on it. Love is a value that needs to proceed and animate public policy and individual choices. Without love for the earth, for instance, we pollute. Without love for people who are different or unattached to us, we commit or countenance all manner of callousness and cruelty. To change the world, we have to start somewhere. Let’s start with ourselves, and let’s start with love.


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