When we think of this day, we often focus on the loss and the pain. It’s very natural for us to do so because it was a very painful time for our country. So many people lost so very much. But a lot of good has risen from the ashes of that dark day. Here’s a story from Bob Dotson:
He no longer put off anything that brought them joy. “If we’re lying on the floor and all of a sudden Victoria says, ‘Daddy, I want to go to the park,’ I’m like, ‘Oh, I don’t want to go to the park.’ That’s what I’m thinking, but I say, ‘Let’s go. We’re going to the park.’ ”
Robert shouted “Hang on, guys!” as the kids squealed with laughter. They were riding in a grocery cart, careening across the lot toward dad’s big SUV. “Why should I deprive my children from going shopping?” Robert said. “I see all the other mothers going shopping with their kids. Why can’t I do it?”
He raced alongside the grocery cart, jumped on its rear axle and pushed with a powerful leg. The children exploded with laughter again. “When my kids smile, the terrorists lose,” Robert said with a grin. “The people who killed Janet wanted to destroy our happy lives. They lost. We won.”
In his book American Story, Dotson also tells of a Newfoundland town that took in stranded passengers from several planes that were forced to land. It’s a beautiful story. The entire book is full of them. To say I recommend this book highly is an understatement. It’s what every American should read. Most particularly today. Go get yourself a copy and let each story remind you why America is so special, why we triumph even when faced with horrifying tragedy like September 11, 2001.
Today, while I remember the lives lost and those impacted by the the actions of hateful people, I will also remember the goodness and strength we found along the road to recovery. Neighbor helping neighbor. Children leading their parents. Strangers holding hands and offering whatever they could to ease another’s burdens. We have triumphed because that’s what America is all about.
Yes, I still remember and I still grieve, but I also see the promise of America through the veil of tears.
Always remember, and always hope.