Thursday, September 11, 2008

Remembering September 11th with Heroism, Not Hatred

What the world needs now, more than ever before, are every day heroes who are ready, willing and able to make a difference.

Greg Hickman


Today is a somber day for our country. Today is the day we remember a terrible tragedy, our worst ever. I remember the terror I felt that morning, knowing my husband had left for a “red eye” flight only hours before the planes hit. It took hours for me to reach him and find out he had reached L.A. safely. When I think of September 11th, I take away two things. The first is the tremendous power and cost of hatred. Anger, rage, hatred are commanding but destructive emotions. Most of us don’t understand the level of hatred those terrorists felt toward Americans, but we do understand anger, rage and hatred. Sometimes we let those emotions flow through us and the result is almost always destructive, whether through scathing words sent to a loved one, aggressive driving, or even the destruction we create by holding those powerful feelings inside and letting them brew. My first thought today is to, on today of all days, let your anger go. Look for the moments and thoughts that tend to get the best of you. Steer away from those thoughts for today. In honor of our lost citizens, have no part of anger today.

My second take away from September 11th is the power of heroism. We all saw and heard the incredible stories of heroism throughout the months following 9/11. Flight 93, firefighter and police heroism, individuals facing their inevitable deaths with dignity, citizens doing the impossible, risking their own lives to save or assist a stranger. Heroism is as powerful, if not more so, than hatred, because it comes from a sense of aiding others at cost to the self. Those heroic acts were about helping, healing, saving others knowing there was no personal benefit. Heroism is about doing the right thing, even if there is a cost for doing it. Heroism doesn’t have to be taking over a hijacked plane, though. It can be giving a donation when it hurts. Heroism can be saying a kind word to the coworker you can’t stand because they are in pain. Heroism is woven through the calendar days of American history. There is no act of heroism too small, just moments waiting for us to act. On this day of remembrance, I ask that each of us look deep, to step away from the seductive destruction of anger, and, instead, look for small moments of heroism, little acts that reach beyond ourselves and touch the world around us. On today of all days, each of us could benefit from a moment of heroism, whether we are giving it or receiving it.

Best to all of you today and always.



  1. I remember all too well, September 11th 2001. To this day, I feel the horror when I couldn't contact my husband, who was a New York City Police officer, now retired. I could only think of him down at the Towers when they came down. He, along with all of the others who gave so much of thier time, are Hero's. For 3 weeks after work, I collected food donations. Drove down to the Bronx, to the NYPD Range and fed the officers who were posted there. the range had to be gaurded 24/7. It is where all of the officers go, twice a year to shoot. Needless to say all of the amo is there along with the housing for the NYPD K-9s. It was only 3 weeks, but I felt like I was doing some good. The NYPD lost 23 members and 37 from the FDNY. Lets not forget them or all of the other lives that were taken that day.


  2. Dear Debby-

    Thank you for sharing your heart wrenching story, and reminding all of us the lost lives of September 11th. For you to have given so much in the midst of such chaos and fear in the weeks following the attack is a testament to your character, and exactly the type of heroism that we must all remember to participate in. I know NY was filled in those earlier days with numerous fears, threats of futher attacks, etc. (That much of the country was not even aware of.) To have sacrificed as you did, is heroic. Thank you , Debby, because there is no heroic act too small.