It is hard to believe that today marks the 13th anniversary of 9-11-2001. I still remember exactly where I was and it seemed all surreal and we all thought it couldn't be true. Then to find out that I had friends and relatives who survived that day and some who unfortunately did not. My heart goes out to those families as well as my eternal thanks to our first responders and those serving in the military.
As an educator it is also strange that almost all students in grades K-8 weren't even born or are too young to remember 9-11.
When it comes to things like this I tend to turn to my faith and my mentors as to how to respond. I saw an article that Rabbi Sacks wrote. Excerpts of the article as well as a link to the complete article are below.
honour, loyalty and integrity that has brought once esteemed groups into disrepute, the waning throughout the West of a sense of national identity; even last month’s riots.
These are all signs of the arteriosclerosis of a culture, a civilisation grown old. Whenever Me takes precedence over We, and pleasure today over viability tomorrow, a society is in trouble. If so, then the enemy is not radical Islam, it is us and our by now unsustainable self-indulgence.
The West has expended much energy and courage fighting wars in Afghanistan and Iraq abroad and defeating terror at home. It has spent far less, if any, in renewing its own morality and the institutions — families, communities, ethical codes, standards in public life — where it is created and sustained.
But if I am right, this is the West’s greatest weakness in the eyes of its enemies as well as its friends.
The only way to save the world is to begin with ourselves. Our burden after 9/11 is to renew the moral disciplines of freedom. Some say it can’t be done. They are wrong: it can and must. Surely we owe the dead no less."
I think Rabbi Sack's message is clear. While we have to fight terror both here and abroad and we can never forget and allow another 9-11 that is not enough. The events of 9-11 need to impact us and change who we are.
As most years 9-11 comes around the time of the Jewish High Holidays when we reflect on the pervious year and pray for a better one. It is a time that we are judged both individually and as a people. It is no secret as to why most Jewish prayers are written in the plural because to pray for ourselves means we need to pray and care about others.
Therefore, as Rabbi Sacks says we owe it to those who gave their lives so we can continue to live, in freedom to be more focused on the WE, on our families, and our community. By doing so, not only we will remember those that perished, but we will grow and change both our communities, families and ourselves.