A glimmer of sunlight, just for today

No one I know who is old enough needs to be reminded of this day. Of the horrifying shock, the sheer depth of the tragedy, the fear that set in as the chilling images were repeated over and over again, as that city—New York, New York—disappeared into a storm of fire and ash.

My family suffered no losses that day, but we lived within a long-commute of Manhattan. My son had friends who worked near the towers. My daughter’s former colleague and one of her high school friends lost their fiancés. My best friend’s son remembered seeing a single shoe falling from the sky. 

I hope the sadness that 9/11 left in its wake will never leave us, that we will always remember the losses suffered—those 3,000 people who started the morning like any other, in New York, in Washington, on the plane headed for the Capitol that went down near Somerset, PA. No one can imagine how they suffered, or the pain their loved ones endured and still carry in their hearts. 

Given the horrible polarization we are experiencing in this country at present, recalling 9/11 brings to mind two points that I think are especially worthy of contemplation. 

First, the death toll was indiscriminate, across all of the segmentation that now seems so painfully divisive—race, sexual orientation, religion, age, income, USA born or immigrant, R or D. We were together in the molten nightmare of 9/11. We lost and mourned and began to recover side by side, as part of a national family, united in our grief and our resolve. 

Second, there’s Fred Roger’s mother’s well known call to “look for the helpers.” Today, I am thinking of them and am thankful for the first responders who stormed “into the valley of death” with the hope of saving even a single stranger.

Bad things, like 9/11, and the history of horrors perpetrated across thousands of years, happen. Human nature unfortunately being what it is, a constantly warring duality of good and evil, some people go sour, driven by greed or the lust for power, or who-knows-what, perhaps even a line they have been handed over a lifetime and never thought or cared to question (i.e., the blind ideology of the hijackers). And then there are those who sadly just lose control, taken over by fear or anger or self-survival or inner demons of another sort. 

The wrongs that break our collective heart need to be righted. Society depends on order and justice, ideally driven always by the divine command to love one’s neighbor as oneself. For those who are not religious, read the “Golden Rule.” But 9/11 should remind us, now more than ever, not to paint with too broad a brush. We must never, ever forget that the courage we witnessed on 9/11 is repeated every day across this nation, when our first responders—police, fire, military, and, particularly this year, our countless medical heroes—willingly and selflessly walk without hesitation into life-threatening situations to save us. 

Today, as fires rage across the Western United States, with families, homes, and livelihood at great risk, I look for our brave and selfless firefighters, and all of their lifesaving partners, and there I find hope.

Note: This is a post about humanity, not politics. I appreciate all who read my blog and value your opinions; respectful, non-political comments are always welcome. Be well and safe, and appreciate the small joys of every single day.

12 thoughts on “A glimmer of sunlight, just for today

  1. restlessjo

    Impossible to forget. I have never in my lifetime witnessed such horror, nor want to again. Oddly enough the novel that I’m currently reading (Burnt Shadows by Kamila Shamsie) touches on the event, though starting its story in Nagasaki. Another horror story! And those days of the Cold War when the nuclear threat was ever present. Such times we’ve witnessed! It almost makes Covid-19 seem trivial, Angela. We absolutely owe a debt to hospital workers, firefighters and all those in the front line.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Ron

    Angela, I avoided reading any post regarding 9-11 as it a very private day of reflection for me. I thank you for this lovely post and your wonderful way of expressing your feelings. Feelings which I agree with. Let’s just hope by the time we mark the 20th anniversary of that horrid day, that we live in a better world…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Angela

      Ron, as I generally avoid writing about that day. With all that’s swirling around us, however, something finally bubbled to the surface. Thank you so much for your kind comment and know that I share in your hope. Best to both of you!


  3. NewEnglandGardenAndThread

    I remember all the images and the feelings as the news reporters tried to find words to express what they were seeing and thinking was an accident. But, then it happened like dominoes falling, and those of us who watched it evolve will always know exactly where we were and what we were doing at that moment. There are no adjectives to describe it. I remember cutting out pictures of flags to tape inside the back windows of our vehicles to show pride in the US and standing together with fellow citizens. The Corona virus could be held at bay until there is a vaccine, but instead of people coming together like we did on 9/11, it has set us apart. Who knew we would allow a piece of cloth to keep us from saving 273,774 others. One of my travel goals this year had been to see the memorial in NYC. That will be on hold for a while, but I will never forget. Thank you for the reminder and the eloquent post.

    Liked by 1 person

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