9/11 is a day for reflection, gratitude, hope and healing

September 11, 2012 

Your life this morning is different than it was 11 years ago.

Yes, you're older. Yes, people have come into -- and gone out of -- your life, for better and for worse.

Those things happen to everyone in any given time span.

But 11 years ago from this moment, folks picking up their Tri-City Herald saw a front page story about whooping cough making a comeback.

As most of us drank our coffee and prepared for school or work, the date of Sept. 11 was just another nice late-summer day -- full of sunshine and promise.

Until it all went dark ... and cold.

Now, Sept. 11 is a day of remembrance and soberness.

You think about that day every time you hear the words Sept. 11.

It's been 11 years, which seems like a long time, but in the grand scheme of things, this is still a fresh wound.

When terrorists intent on murder and suicide flew fully loaded airplanes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and crashed into a field in Pennsylvania, they set in action a chain of events that no one could have anticipated.

We still mourn for the victims and their families. Nearly 3,000 people died that day. It was a heartless loss of innocent lives.

There has been a passing of years, and life has gotten back to normal in many respects, but not completely.

And it likely never will.

In the months that followed the 9/11 attacks, some Americans responded to their fears and frustrations by acting out hate crimes on other innocent lives.

According to U.S. Department of Justice, the Civil Rights Division, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and U.S. Attorneys offices have investigated more than 800 incidents since 9/11 involving violence, threats, vandalism and arson against Arab-Americans, Muslims, Sikhs, South-Asian Americans and other individuals perceived to be Middle Eastern.

The incidents have consisted of telephone, internet, mail, and face-to-face threats. And beyond threats, individuals perceived as Muslim have been the victims of assaults with dangerous weapons, some resulting in serious injury and death.

Shootings, arson, vandalism and bombings directed at homes, businesses, and places of worship have also been reported.

It would be a stretch for us to draw a connection between 9/11 and a shooting just last month at a Wisconsin Sikh temple.

It is not a stretch, however, to say that shooting, which was classified by the FBI as a "domestic terrorist" attack, was a hate crime and a chapter we would rather not have in our history books.

We especially do not want it to be a part of our future.

Regardless of our differences, we need a time to come together as a nation.

We need to pay respect. We need to think of people besides ourselves.

Today is that time.

It's a day to be grateful for the good, and not so good, things in your life. It's a time to tell your loved ones how you feel because you just don't know what tomorrow is going to bring.

It's also a time to set aside a grudge or a fear or a disagreement.

Today is a time to heal.

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