This has been a week for looking back and reflecting, as we honor the 20th anniversary of the event we call 911. A day in American history, when four airplanes were hijacked and used as weapons to kill 2,977 Americans and injure 6000 more, it’s important not to forget.
If you were alive on that day, you probably remember exactly what you were doing on September 11, 2001 at the time the first plane flew into one of the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York. Many of us were at work when we received a call from a family member or friend telling us, Turn on your television set. Of course we thought it was an accident, a mistake. No one could intentionally carry out something so sinister, but we were wrong. We watched the news, horrified, as we witnessed more crashes and deaths.
That very afternoon I was among the dozens of people standing in line to donate blood. All of us were looking for something to do, some positive way we could help those who’d been attacked. Maybe they needed blood in New York City or at the Pentagon, because surely we were at war with talk of more attacks to come.
We scanned the skies nervously, but all was quiet. In the United States, all planes were grounded until September 14th. I remember chaperoning my daughter Alex’s second grade class on a trip that week down to Jug Bay Wild Life Sanctuary in southern Anne Arundel County, Maryland, and listening to the calls of the geese; noting how eerily silent were the skies. Baltimore Washington Airport, a busy travel hub, was not so far away; but no one wanted to get on a plane. We were scared.
Yes, there were hate crimes. Muslims, Sikhs, and persons of Arab and South Asian descent, suddenly became targets of vicious attacks by ignorant vigilantes seeking to lay blame on someone for the 911 attacks. However, in my community, the overwhelming sense of people trying to band together to think of ways to help the victims and to be kinder to each other prevailed.
We were under attack, and we needed each other. We remembered that together we stand.
Now twenty years later we are under attack again. It’s not a foreign power or a group of terrorists from another country trying to tear apart the United States, it’s a deadly virus. Six hundred and sixty thousand Americans have died from the Covid-19 coronavirus. Globally 4.55 million people have died from Covid-19. This deadly virus has torn apart families, ravaged businesses, and crippled our educational institutions.
Instead of joining together as a nation to defeat our foe, many of our so-called leaders are doing their best to sabotage the battle for their own personal gain. More interested in seizing power and enlarging their bank accounts, they are willing for Americans to die. They are against taking public health safety precautions, hiding behind the idea that we shouldn’t enforce common sense rules that restrict personal freedom. The lives of our friends, families, and neighbors are at risk. But there are those only thinking of their personal comfort.
Perhaps wearing a mask is uncomfortable or getting a vaccination might result in an elevated temperature or headache for a day or two. This is a small price to pay, when others are struggling to take a breath or to walk, as a result of contracting the virus. Young children and those with compromised immune systems are unable to be vaccinated, but healthy adults can be vaccinated. This is a war. Sometimes you have to make sacrifices.
We have several vaccines that are affective and no shortage of masks, but despite enough vaccine to inoculate every American adult, only 51 percent are fully vaccinated! Conspiracy theories and fables are just that, outlandish falsehoods.
I think about to those of us waiting to donate blood on the afternoon of September 11, 2001. We were old and we were young. Him, her, and they. Our political and religious affiliations were irrelevant. We just wanted to help. To show our support, united and standing with America.
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