We should remember how 9/11 changed us

CJ Coombs

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So many of us remember exactly where we were and what we were doing on the morning of September 11, 2001. I was at work watching the television in disbelief. What felt like a surreal moment in time became a disjointed reality.

It was a topic of conversation for days amongst my co-workers. Also, the news felt distant because it didn't personally affect any friend or family member. I thought about all the loss of life for hundreds of people. I would think about their families whispering, "I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry."

My mother had passed away four months before 9/11 and grief was still fresh, but 9/11 became a distraction. As the days passed, I observed how people began to come together and how other countries were feeling the pain of America. Unity. Humanity. Heroism. There was universal compassion, a compilation of togetherness being expressed through actions. Volunteers jumped in to make a difference. No time for hate in America. Families and friends of so many victims needed healing. There was no division in America. As weeks, then months would pass, we became a complacent country again. Those of us outside of New York were removed from the direct pain, the cleaning of the destruction, and the rebuilding of not just a space in the city, but peoples' lives.

To witness through the media New York's twin towers become demolished with layers of death was overwhelming. We should never be complacent. We should never hold that unity is only possible through atrocity. As we remember the nearly 3,000 people who were innocently killed, lift them up and remember their families. Remember all the first responders who were there and all those with their generous acts to help.

There are well-made documentaries providing facts of the event and stories of survivors. Watch them. They are stories of inspiration to memorialize all the unnecessary loss of life. They are reminders of the power of resolve and compassion and how the atrocity was initiated by the power of hate.

Let's remember who we were 20 years ago and who we are today.

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Hello! I have 30 years of experience in the legal field, and a BA in Eng Journalism & Creative Writing. I am an incessant thinker, giver, and lover of life. Born into the service life of the Air Force in Louisiana, life has taken me to Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, and ultimately to Missouri, I don't have that true concept of "home," but believe every living experience is tied to language. I applaud all writers who churn language into something artful, meaningful, and productive. I love my family, art, true crime, non-fiction, reading, travel, and red pinot.

Kansas City, MO
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