We will see many photos of smoking buildings, piles of rubble, memorials and tear-stained faces today.
We will remember the pain.
We will talk about the attacks, how and when they happened, and response that followed.
We will remember how we stopped feeling safe with each other.
We will dissect terrorism.
We will remember the fear.
It’s important to remember all of these things. The September 11 attacks took people too soon, showed our vulnerabilities and exploited them.
But we tend to forget the kindness.
We skim over the surge of compassion that knit us together in the days that followed — from volunteering in big ways to just being a little softer with each other.
The shared sorrow was bigger than any one person. Our divisions — political, gender, race, socioeconomic — blew away like debris, revealing our core humanity.
The world responded in kind.
Americans abroad were comforted and cared for. The world wrapped its arms around us and held us close, as we did each other.
9/11 can be both an occasion to honor history and our losses, but also what we gained in kindness.
Nationally Sept. 11 is both Patriot Day and a National Day of Service and Remembrance.
The Rotary Club of Traverse City hosted the third annual 9/11 Honor Run 5K on Saturday.
The event honored those who lost their lives on 9/11, local first responders and veterans. It’s also a fundraiser for the Grand Traverse Region Public Safety Alliance, which is looking to create a local peer support program. Kindness.
9/11 is also behind United Way of Northwest Michigan’s fall Day of Caring, which will send forth 200 volunteers to 20 sites this year to work jobs that have a “big impact” on people who need help.
“It’s a day to remember that community matters,” said Jessica Tibbs, marketing and volunteer coordinator.
Kindness is something we can nurture now as we look to those still wrestling with the ripples of the 9/11 attacks — as many deal with illness and trauma that persevere.
We will not forget the horror, and we will not forget the kindness.