Since 2001, I have thought about that day when the anniversary came around.
Our country being our own continent, surrounded by mostly friendly countries, separated by oceans, had previously given us (the American non-combatant population) some immunity from the realities of war.
I think the attack made America’s culture have a more visceral connection to the effects of war and international hostility that we didn’t have before. Our country has killed noncombatants; we are far from pristine there. Two wrongs don’t make a right (as Gandhi may’ve said, an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind), but I think the attack made us (the American noncombatant population) feel empathy for other countries’ noncombatants in a way we hadn’t before.
If any good came out of that attack that day, it may have been that newfound sense of global empathy.
I’ve read two pieces recently — both incredibly powerful, incredibly well-written but incredibly sad — who hold as a theme: do it now. Live your life and do your good … now. On local levels to effect global change.
I think that is what you do in the face of such sadness — you try to bring good to who you can, on a local level.
Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed [people] can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”