Like most Americans, I remember where I was and what I was doing on 9/11. I was on a conference call with someone in the Sears Tower in Chicago when she abruptly needed to leave. I later learned they were evacuating the building. My husband phoned immediately after I hung up and told me what was happening. I watched the towers fall in a conference room with a small, very quiet group of co-workers. Eventually I couldn’t watch any longer and went back to my desk, closed my door, and just sat. I think the only work done in America that day was by the heroes treating and trying to locate survivors. I also remember the day the Challenger exploded. My husband shared that news with me as I picked him up for lunch. My reaction was “you’re joking”, not that he would joke about something like that, but my mind just couldn’t wrap itself around such a tragedy. No such disbelief was possible on 9/11…the round-the-clock TV coverage wouldn’t allow it.
What lessons are there from 9/11 a decade later? Certainly the day was an unmistakable reminder of evil present in the world. But there were also countless acts of heroism and caring and love. That will be my takeaway from 9/11: that while 11 men chose evil that day, thousands of others made the opposite choice. Good will always outweigh evil. Always.
“There has to be evil so that good can prove its purity above it.” –Buddha