Eight years ago, on another coast thousands of miles away, many average Americans and those living and working in the States were doing the same thing. They arose from their beds that morning and prepared to start their day. Some boarded planes that would take them to different destinations; others arrived at their jobs in two east coast cities. They too had no reason to expect anything other then a normal early September day-it was clear and beautiful outside then too and all appeared to be ordinary as they began their tasks and flights.
And then terror struck--the hatred of mankind one towards another; unspeakable acts of violence and terror of strangers against average people they had never met, never conversed with, never shared a cup of tea or coffee with, or a laugh. In that moment these average people--most civilians--were thrown into circumstances that would dramatically change their life’s journey and the journey of those they loved and who loved them. And for a few terrible moments hate ruled the day.
Some of these innocents would go to their deaths never knowing the reason; others would fight back when they realized the aim of the evil aboard their plane that morning. Normal, average people called upon to become heroes -- showing extraordinary courage in a situation which brought out the worst in some, who sought to destroy, but in others brought out the very best - the latter whose only aim was to thwart the evil goals of those who had so much hate in their hearts that clear September morn. And again love began to rule, though hate would take its cruel toll.
And in the cities fireman, policemen, average Americans and military personnel were called upon to help and show extraordinary courage too as they entered the damaged Twin Towers and Pentagon or battled within those buildings to save the lives of strangers, co-workers and friends who only minutes before they may have conversed with or shared a cup of tea or coffee or perhaps a laugh. And love appeared in those office spaces and in the stairwells as average Americans did what they could for their fellow man out of a sense of brotherhood and good will.
And on that day and the many following it, America (and many other nations) wept for those they had lost; and America’s citizens pulled together as one. People sat transfixed in front of their TV’s as those terrible images passed in front of them one by one and they cried out to God for help. And families who lost so very much that day felt the pain that only one bereft of a loved one could feel but also felt support from average people just like them. And all over our nation and around the world, children and adults alike asked how hate like this could be when there was another choice.