If you’re old enough to remember it, I don’t need to say any more than that for you to know what I’m talking about. Yesterday, on the anniversary of what we now simply refer to as 9/11, everyone remembered exactly where they were, what they were doing, and how they found out about the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in 2001.

Most of us remember other things about that day, too. How surreal it felt. How we knew instinctively that the world had changed in ways that could never change back. And how we all came together, in our grief and our disbelief, but also in our resolve and our determination not to be defeated by an enemy that attacked us in a way that was absolutely unimaginable. Until it happened.

As I write from the memory of what happened on that day nineteen years ago, I suddenly realize that some of what I’m saying – and feeling – could also describe what’s going on in our country and the world today. The surreal feeling, for example. The monumental changes in our lives, and the understanding that some things will never go back to the way they were before.

I find that sense of déjà vu to be disconcerting. But, strange as it may sound, I also find it comforting. There’s nothing comforting, of course, about the terrorist attacks that happened in 2001, or the pandemic and everything else we’re dealing with now. The comfort comes in knowing that we can and will get through our current crises, just as we did the tragedy that occurred almost 20 years ago. It will take time. It will take sacrifices. And it will take more work than most of us can even imagine. But we’ll get there.

Yesterday was a day of reflection for me. Reflection on the past, and the day that is seared into our memories. Reflection on the present, and the questions and uncertainty we are still facing today. But most important, reflection on the future, and what it can look like if we work together to recover, restore, and rebuild what we’ve lost, and focus on creating a world that is better, stronger, and safer for us all.

September 12, 2020
©Betty Liedtke, 2020

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