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We Are Not Makers Of History, We Are Made By History ~ Martin Luther King Jr.

Moments of Silence for 9/11 Author: Jennifer Aitken


It has been 19 years since the attacks of 9/11. 19 years of change, life, death, struggles, and memories. Since the attacks, we have commemorated the day as a day of remembrance. For many, we relive where we were, horrendous images from non-stop newscasts, and the life-altering effects of losing someone. This year I propose that we don’t take a moment of silence to remember the events and lives lost on that day, I suggest we take 4.


Take a moment to remember those who we lost.

It doesn’t matter if you can’t name one person who lost their life as a result of the attacks on 9/11 or if their face and the sound of their laugh is engrained into your memory forever. Remember them. Honor the effect they had on the lives they touched, and the effect on the lives that those lives will touch. Remember those who lost their lives suddenly without a moment to engage in the horror. But also, remember those who had to wait, who had time to think and regret. Honor those who lost their life by learning what they learned in those last moments. Don’t hold grudges, don’t sweat the petty things, and never miss a moment to say “I love you”.


Take a moment to remember those who lost someone.

Every day we encounter countless life stories, and we often don’t get to, or don’t take the chance to, know even one page of their story. Families, friends, coworkers, and neighbors, were lost that day. From that moment, through these last 19 years, they have had to live each day with one less companion, a shoulder to cry on, someone to laugh with, or their soulmate. They have sought comfort in groups, or carried on in silent distress. They have provided for their families, picked up the pieces, and did the best they could to keep living despite the pain. Honor those who lost someone, be a friend, be a neighbor, give a helping hand, and a smile to someone who really needs it. You never know the story that lies behind a sullen face. One small act of kindness can change someone’s life.


Take a moment to remember those who served others without question or hesitation.

We grow up practicing drills for fire, tornado, and now even lockdowns. We educate ourselves and others, we practice, and we do our best to prepare. We do our best, but until crisis is staring you in the face until you are surrounded by noise, chaos, and explosions, none of us truly know what we will do. We hope that we are ready, that our drills will pay off. We hope that when we see someone in dire need, we are the one to help them, to get them out of harm’s way… to run into a burning building. So many people did that on 9/11. New York City Police, Firefighters, and other first responders in New York and Virginia, tasked with keeping the citizens safe, rushed toward danger. They battled smoke, flames, and warzone conditions just to try to make a difference even if only for one person. Ordinary people without badges or obligation, put their lives at risk for the sake of someone else. For their fellow man. Remember those people who put others first. Who didn’t consider what was in their best interest, who didn’t do it for recognition, who didn’t ask about race or socioeconomic status before they helped. They didn’t ask to be heroes they just helped their fellow man.


Take a moment to remember yourself.

A lifetime is filled with moments that shape us. We often can’t pinpoint an event or memory that awakens a certain trait we display, whether proudly or in our weakest moments. But there are moments that define us, that stand out to us when we think back on our lives before, and after. Take one more moment of silence for remembrance of yourself. Think about who you were before, the journey since then, and who you are today. Ask yourself, would September 10, 2001, me be proud of the post 9/11 me? Do I honor those who have lived, who have left their mark on others? Am I a friend, a neighbor, a good samaritan? Do I put myself first, or do I work and act in ways that serve the betterment of my fellow man?


9-11 is a day of remembrance. We remember the attacks, the dreadful scenes on tv, the fear, the loss, and the anger. But let us also remember that acts of terror are born from hate. Let us remember that hate can be combatted by love, compassion, and tolerance. Let us remember the dark can be chased away by a single flame. On this day, remember.



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