When I see the words “Never forget” in relation to 9/11/01 I literally feel sick to my stomach. Although it is clearly a well-intentioned phrase aimed at uniting Americans in remembering the many victims and heroes of that tragic day, what it implies is that there are those who have somehow forgotten or will forget as time ticks on. I find that thought nearly as shocking as that day itself, because for me personally, I wish there was some way I could forget.
I remember the hours, days, and even months surrounding 9/11 as though they were cemented in my soul. I remember crying at my cushy desk in Connecticut, far enough from the mayhem that I was physically safe, yet feeling that safety no longer existed as I frantically dialed my boyfriend and parents to let them know I loved them. What flashed across my mind as soon as I saw the images on the internet was that we were at war. We were at war, and my boss at the time didn’t even acknowledge what was going on, making everyone in our small office work as though it were just another day. But, it wasn’t just another day. It was the day that locked our country in an undercurrent of fear, pain, and sorrow. There is little value to “never forgetting” that horror. Renowned healer, Bernie Siegel likes to point out that “words words words” when strung together can become swords. I think the negative way we typically speak about 9/11 has the power to stab our hearts over and over again. So, I would like to propose that we shift to a more positive motto for that day, “Remember the Love.”
You may be wondering, just what there is to love about a day so tragic. I had to wonder too. It has taken me a very long time to appreciate anything from the senselessness of that day. In fact, just as I recently mentioned that the combination of the numbers 11:11 have a powerfully positive spiritual meaning, unfortunately the combination of 9 and 11 has had the opposite effect on me. I have attached a sense of darkness to those numbers when they are placed next to each other. I don’t even like to see imagery of the NYC skyline. It all brings such an overwhelming sense of loss. Yet, as I continue seeking health and happiness on a daily basis, I know that I have to release the negative energy surrounding that day. Negativity breeds negativity in an endless downward spiral. So, what I need to do is focus on the undeniable love surrounding that day. Here is what I am able to cling to as rays of light:
- Babies were born on that morning, just as they are every morning. The miracle of life continued.
- People ran into those burning buildings. Bravery and courage took many forms and had many faces. The status of New Yorkers as unfriendly and unkind was given a serious overhaul.
- Nurses, doctors, social workers, firefighters, military personnel and police officers were put on center stage and the lifesaving work that they dedicate their lives to was apparent and appreciated more fully.
- Americans started being Americans again. Flags were flown, songs were sung, and pride radiated where it had been dim.
- People woke up to what really mattered. I left my job in search of more meaningful work. My then boyfriend proposed marriage a little over a month later. Time seemed to have a new sense of urgency, and expressing love and gratitude became much more effortless.
- Prayers went out from around the globe. Energy researchers note that there was a surge of emotion around that day – love, kindness, and a collective uprising that hadn’t been seen before.
These are just a few examples, there are so many more. And, the love continues to grow as people lift their hearts up annually in solidarity. So, please let that light grow by spreading positive energy and love. As for never forgetting – to quote a friend and marine – “I am not sure it is possible even if I tried.”