We Remember

We all remember where we were 12 years ago today. Some of us were on our way to work, worrying about an upcoming project or angry because we spilled coffee on our favorite shirt. Some of us were in school, taking tests or innocently playing with our friends on the playground. People were driving, exercising, reading, and carrying on as they would on any ordinary day.

It started out as an ordinary Tuesday morning, but on that morning ordinary people would become heroes. Ordinary people’s lives would be completely changed. And suddenly, and forevermore, September 11th was not ordinary.

We all remember the breaking story of a plane hitting the first tower of the World Trade Center; some initially believing it was a random and tragic accident. We then experienced the horror of the second attack, now realizing that something much bigger was going on. Then we heard about an attack on the Pentagon, and a plane going down in Pennsylvania. It was confusing, overwhelming, and ultimately frightening.

We called our friends, family, and loved ones to make sure they were all safe. And in that moment, we had clarity about what really mattered. It wasn’t the work deadlines, profit margins, or meetings; it wasn’t about losing weight or trying to buy that cool new car. It was about those who mattered in our lives coming home to us—a luxury we knew wasn’t afforded to everyone that night. And around the country, people hugged each other a little tighter.

We realized that it could have happened to any of us. We heard the stories of people being late for work due to missing a train or getting caught in traffic, or missing their flight because the line at Dunkin Donuts had been too long. And it was because of those seemingly trivial annoyances that they were not where they were supposed to be, and as such were not a victim of the attacks.

We need to let this day serve as yet another reminder to count our blessings, even if they present themselves as annoyances. We need to look out for one another. We need to strive to remember the clarity we had that day and carry it in to our every day lives. And most importantly, we need to never forget the sacrifices of those who perished on September 11, 2001. Our thoughts and prayers are with them and all who lost someone in this tragedy.


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  • I’ve long appreciated the personable, homey tone of OWC emails, and this heartfelt commemoration of 9/11 continues in that vein.

    “We heard the stories of people being late for work … And it was because of those seemingly trivial annoyances that they were not … a victim of the attacks.”

    Indeed, I have a friend who is still alive because he stopped to get a bagel before getting on the World Trade Center elevator to go to his office. The colleague he was speaking to did get on the elevator and is no longer with us. Let’s remember him and all the others — the office workers, the firefighters, the police, all other first responders — who died that day.

    And ditto Jon Spangler: let’s fight oppression, economic inequity and ignorance around the world to help our brothers and sisters and to combat terrorism.




  • We still have not learned how to relate to other peoples and nations in a way that does not provoke the anger and alienation that resulted in the terrorist attacks before and after September 11, 2001.

    In the long run, working for peace, justice, and economic equity worldwide is our strongest defense against terrorism and the anger that goes with them. Are we smart enough to stop trying to dominate the world (economically, politically, agriculturally, technically, etc.) and just be good neighbors–in the Biblical sense of the Good Samaritan?