Yesterday was September 11, 2016, the 15th anniversary of the September 11th attacks which changed my beautiful city, the country and the world forever.
I thought about writing another post about September 11th for this blog but it just didn't seem right yesterday as, for the 15th year in a row, I watched all the names being read down at the World Trade Center, a process that takes way too long. I say this not because I don't want to sit there and watch it, but rather that there were far too many valuable, vibrant lives lost on that day and it strikes me every time I sit through the readings.
My post about September 11th at Walt Disney World on the tenth anniversary of 9/11 was one of my first posts for this blog, and to this day remains my most popular and visited post. I know there's a lot of interest in those that experienced that day first hand, and especially in places like New York City and Walt Disney World.
Yet five years later, on September 12, 2016 I wanted to share a simple message. Be KIND.
On September 12, 2011, I became an adult. I was 17 years old, in senior year of high school. I grew up overnight. Seeing my neighbors, friends, and fellow New Yorkers die in a horrific terrorist attack changed me forever. I was not alone.
If you ask me about September 12, 2001, I would say that the world was the kindest place it has ever been. As we were still finding out the details about the attack and the aftermath of the collapse of the towers, everyone was understandably on edge. Everything was canceled, school, work, etc. Quite frankly, nobody knew what to do with themselves in New York.
What did we do instead? We cared for one another.
In 2001, I still had an address book. I was 17 and didn't have a cell phone, which is sort of unheard of fifteen years later. I opened my phone book and called every single person I knew to check up on them. We cooked for families who were searching for loved ones and for first responders who wouldn't see their family members for months as they dug out of the rubble.
Lines wrapped around buildings with people wanting to donate blood. People came from all over the country to my beautiful city to be of help. Nurses, doctors, police officers, firemen and individuals came to lend a helping hand and be supportive.
The world came together to mourn with us. Everyone was a New Yorker on 9/12/01.
When people donated money and resources, they didn't ask if the recipient was a democrat or a republican, if they voted for Al Gore or George W. Bush. They didn't care what your stance was on gay marriage or universal healthcare. We were humans. We cared for one another. That was all that mattered.
When businesses handed out bottles of water to people without charging them. When strangers offered to drive strangers to their destinations. When people opened their doors for water and restrooms to people walking miles home over bridges and through tunnels. When people risked everything for others so they can go home to their families, at the loss of their own lives and families.
When we say "never forget" after attacks such as September 11th, this is what I wish we never forgot. Not the towers collapsing. Not the people jumping out of buildings. Not the names of the terrorists who changed our world forever. Not image of the planes crashing into those beautiful buildings.
Never forget that for a brief moment the world was a kinder place. When we think about our fellow men and women, the world is better.
Be safe. Be kind. Be generous. Care for your fellow man.