A Kernel of Human Solidarity

by admin on September 11, 2011

I’ve spent the day avoiding posting on the blog, unsure of what to say on a day devoted to memorial, feeling wrong about posting pictures and recipes of delicious food.  I’ve read many blog posts and watched endless footage of the 9/11 memorial in New York City, and I couldn’t help but think that I had nothing to contribute to the conversation, not because I have no memories or emotions about 9/11, but because I don’t have a right to have anything to say.  I didn’t lose and friends or family members on that tragic day; I didn’t even know anyone who lost someone, so what right do I have to look back upon such tragedy and offer my thoughts, my opinion, my memories?

The very feeling of having no right to speak is exactly the reason I’m writing this post, as I’ve realized that I do have a right, every American has a right, every human has a right to speak, to remember, to mourn, and to celebrate.  From the child being born across the country to the wife who lost her husband on what she expected to be a normal day at work, we all have something to say.  Tragedy is inherently ambiguous, both public and private, a swell of personal emotions that a mass of people share.  I remember feeling confused about why anyone would commit such violence and why God would allow it to happen.  I was devastated for all people affected, terrified for those whose lives were lost, worried by the vulnerability I was realizing we face every day.  I was angry, frustrated, saddened, and yet still proud of the response, in awe of the selflessness exhibited by so many people, and thankful for the outpouring of support.  And through this myriad of very personal, private emotions, I knew I wasn’t alone.  Our entire nation, and most people around the world, were experiencing the same feelings.  For one of the only times in my life, humanity experienced a kernel of solidarity where we were all able to identify with each other through the relationships between the personal experiences we each faced.

A decade later, we experience that solidarity again, but the feelings accompanying our recognition of each other’s hearts has evolved.  When watching footage of the memorial sites, I see smiling faces of families who lost loved ones.  Of course they are hurt, their lives have been torn apart, their worlds will never be the same, and there are times when they can’t hold back the sobs.  Yet still, they smile, they look proud, they prove that we have moved forward.

We will never forget, we will never stop hurting, and there will always be kernels of human nature through which we can connect to our neighbors, our friends, humanity.  But ten years have passed, and the once awe-striking towers, devastatingly reduced to rubble, are now beautiful memorials, reminding us of all who were lost, while also symbolizing the repairs America has made to the physical and emotional damage that was wrought on September 11, 2001.

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