I will never forget where I was. Sitting in a dentist's chair, unaware that Americans were dying on that crisp, cloudless September day.
A mirror image of today.
I do not want to watch the archived footage. Recall the horror. I have seen too much in recent days.
What I crave, more than ever, is a way to heal. A way that acknowledges the tragedy of 9/11. The best of who we were then. How we came together and rallied support for the police, fire fighters, and city of New York. How we cried and mourned for the innocents and heroes lost in that attack.
How we were unified in being Americans.
We weren't perfect. We also pulled the shades and locked the doors on world neighbors who offered support. Let fear and hate creep into our hearts as we readied ourselves for misguided revenge.
Our world forever changed following 9/11. I understand we must be vigilant. I know we must protect the country from future attacks. What saddens me is that it appears we have given up much of our tolerance in the process.
I wish, instead, that the tragedy of 9/11 could initiate a shift in our world perspective. Honor those killed on 9/11 by reaching back into the world. Begin the healing.
If it were in my power to do so, I would invite one child from each country to come to Ground Zero each year on 9/11. Let them stand, hand in hand with American children, and offer these simple words, "I stand before you in tolerance and peace on your national day of mourning."
Small emissaries speaking words of hope. Youthful ambassadors vowing to help heal the world they will one day inherit.
Now is the time to turn the tragedy of 9/11 into something the terrorists never envisioned when they flew those planes into the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and the field in Pennsylvania. Something bigger and more powerful than their message of hate and revenge. Something that is inclusive and enduring. Something that spreads a message of peace in the face of tragedy.
Something that is innately American. Something I believe the majority of Americans want to embrace.