I’ve been sick lately and only today really felt up to writing anything. As an American, when I saw the date, of course my mind went to the terrorist attacks that took place on September 11th, 2001. Upon checking social media this morning I’ve seen many images saying ‘Never Forget’ and even some of those things claiming it was an inside job. I thought to myself, ‘What can I possibly say?’. What is there to say?
I’ve lived a very privileged life. Some people may not appreciate that term, but in my case it’s true. I’m not rich, never have been, but I’ve always had what I needed and then some. I live in a country where I’m not prevented from getting an education because of my gender. I’m allowed to vote and protest if it suits me to do so. I know not everyone who lives in America always has access to the things they should. My mind goes to the people of Flint, Michigan and their struggle for clean drinking water. The kids in inner cities who struggle to get a quality education amongst the poverty, drugs, and violence. There’s so many people who deserve the things I have more than I do. I never want to lose perspective on this, but going about my daily life, it happens.
When I think of September 11th, I think of the terrified people in the buildings and on the planes. People who were just normal people trying to go about their normal day. The people in the city who witnessed the planes crashing into the World Trade Center not yet understanding why it was happening. The firefighters, the policemen, the paramedics, and every one who played a role in trying to save the victims. The families who lost their loved ones. When I think about it, when I really think about it, I realize my heart hurts more now than it did then. I was in 7th grade when it happened. I was able to understand the basics of what I was seeing on the tv, but I was not able to truly wrap my head around the ramifications. I viewed it as a tragedy as a whole, but I did not think about the individuals at that time. Not that I can recall anyway. I still cannot imagine the sheer terror of what they all went through.
So when I bring these thoughts together in my mind, when I think about the state that America is in, my mind just goes back to the thought that all of our graves are the same size. No wealth, no possessions, no influence or popularity, none of it gets to go with you. Whether you lived your life doing everything by the book or a career criminal. The kid shot in the crossfire of gang violence is just as dead as a baby that starved to death in Yemen, who’s just as dead as the 2,977 people on 9/11. They’re all gone from this world forever and they’re all tragic.
The point, if there is one, is that the world is filled with darkness. Even the people who perpetuate much of the evil in the world are often victims of circumstances themselves. There’s so much bad, so much perversion, so much indifference. Be the light. Even if you’re only a small flame in miles of blackness, that makes it all the much easier for people to know where to find you. Don’t let your heart fill with hate. Don’t let your heart give way to the idea that life is meaningless. That there’s no hope. No point. Someday you may be a normal person living a normal day when something very abnormal happens. There’s just no way to know. If nothing else, remembering this day should be a reminder that you cannot rid the world of evil. You cannot rid the world of it’s problems. All you can do is refuse to give up. So while you’re here, for however long any of us have on this Earth, protect your flame and share it with others whenever you can.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
-Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.