9/11: National Day of Service and Remembrance

Dahlia 'Hypnotica'

Dahlia ‘Hypnotica’

9/11.  Thirteen years ago, it was just another date on the calendar.  That changed for the world on September 11, 2001. I’ve struggled all day to find words to share, but they all sound trite.

Many of us wake up on the morning of September 11th and remember those early hours of fear, and disbelief.  Though I live in California, the destination of all four planes that crashed that day, I didn’t lose a friend, a family member or a colleague.  I was fortunate.

But we all felt the collective sadness and fear that swept through this nation in those early days and weeks.

Today is a day of service and remembrance.  I’ve tried to come up with something meaningful, but didn’t do an adequate job planning for the day.  If I had, I would have picked a day of service activity.  I’ll do better next year.  Today I planted a bright yellow ‘Hypnotica’ Dahlia as a remembrance.  We’re a collective planet warmed by the yellow sun.  These warm yellow flowers give me hope while honoring lives lost.  I placed the Dahlia curbside in a muted green pot for passersby to enjoy.

I donated to the American Red Cross fund in lieu of service. The:

“American Red Cross exists to provide compassionate care to those in need. Our network of generous donors, volunteers and employees share a mission of preventing and relieving suffering, here at home and around the world, through five key service areas: disaster relief, supporting military families, lifesaving blood, health and safety services and international humanity services.”

9/11 Remembrance

9/11 Remembrance

I’m also planning a random act of anonymous kindness before the day ends. People often joke about this, but I believe in my heart of hearts that if we all practiced individual acts of kindness, it would go far in improving all our lives.

Sending love and hope back out to the universe.

9/11 Memorial & Museum

simplicity rose

Simplicity Rose

For reasons unclear to me, I’ve avoided more than a superficial look at the 9/11 Memorial. It seems we went from tragedy to fear to bickering about the sites, and then the politics came in to play. At some point, I shut it down.

I didn’t lose a loved one that day, but like millions of others I experienced the collective grief and loss as well as a paradigm shift into a different sense of the world.

As I explored the online guide to the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, of particular interest to me were the unique arrangements of the names on the plaques, based on input from family and friends.  They weren’t linear or alphabetical, but meaningfully grouped as friends or coworkers. The site helped me explore lingering grief within myself, an unexplored loss from that terrible day.

It’s hard not to be moved by the gaping holes where life once bustled, serene fountains eerily reflecting the sky and the engraved names, each one a loss so profound for their loved ones; for us all.

If you’ve been avoiding it, like me, I encourage you to take a look.

If you suffered a personal loss that day, my heart goes out to you as you travel that long and painful journey of sorrow and grief.

The Memorial Mission

Remember and honor the thousands of innocent men, women, and children murdered by terrorists in the horrific attacks of February 26, 1993 and September 11, 2001.

Respect this place made sacred through tragic loss.

Recognize the endurance of those who survived, the courage of those who risked their lives to save others, and the compassion of all who supported us in our darkest hours.

May the lives remembered, the deeds recognized, and the spirit reawakened be eternal beacons, which reaffirm respect for life, strengthen our resolve to preserve freedom, and inspire an end to hatred, ignorance and intolerance.

National September 11 Memorial official site.