Today is September 12. Ten years and twenty-four hours have passed since one of the most horrific days in U.S. history.
Yesterday, memorial services bespoke of the brave heroes of that fateful day. Television programming featured the heroes who survived; panning to them during NFL football game breaks and featuring one family on Extreme Home Makeovers. Yesterday, flags waved, ribbons were worn and people remembered.
And today life goes one. As it should. If every day were a commemorative occasion, the meaning of September 11th would become standard, rote. But although we may not gather daily to recognize the bravery of the people and the camaraderie of the surviving citizens of the U.S., we can begin a new decade by resolving to challenge ourselves to become better citizens, to become better friends, to become better people, for those who cannot.
Today, and every day for the coming year, reach out to the neighbors like you did ten years ago on 9/12. Talk to them, offer to help, lend a hand, be a friend. Don’t wait to be asked. Be generous with your time at work; spare a buck for a homeless guy, not judging whether he’ll use it for booze. You know, he probably will, but give it anyway. It’s the giving that counts. Don’t gossip, don’t complain and if you do, keep it to yourself. Buy a cup of lemonade from a kid on the street or a box of Girl Scout cookies from a young neighbor who comes to your door.
Remember your resolve ten years ago. You know you had it. I know I did. I wanted to be a better person, a better mom, wife, daughter, sister, employee and friend. Earlier this year, when I began reminiscing on the past decade; I wondered if I became the person I wanted to be. At first I thought that not much had changed inside of me. Then I realized how much I accomplished - finding a career I love in public safety, raising my girls into good and beautiful teenagers, keeping my home, rescuing pets, publishing a blog that (hopefully) helps people, teaching Religious Education at my church for several years, volunteering at the food bank, the SPCA, the community kitchen and for the JDRF. I think I made a bit of a difference.
And I want that to continue into the next decade. I can’t change what happened and I can’t make the whole world a better place all by myself. But I can encourage people to be the best they can be. And I can try to do my best; one day at a time. As Mother Teresa said “be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.” Do little things with great love. Make a difference all year long, not just on one day in September.