Barry Buchek gave me this little gem of a reflection from a well worn book he was carrying. Since I am writing this column on the anniversary of 9-11, it seemed fitting to use it here.
…On that day when we were attacked by men intent on terrorizing us,
we stopped to appreciate how precious and precarious life can be; we made a commitment to make each day count a little more; to give of ourselves a little more, to look out for each other a little more; to be a little more of what we were called to be.
On that day when we were attacked by men intent on terrorizing us – they failed.
Because on that day we learned that our Muslim neighbors love this country as much as we do, and were horrified that these men of terror had not only hijacked those planes, but had hijacked their faith as well.
On that day we experienced what too many people around the world experience;
feeling vulnerable to unspeakable violence,
feeling violated by forces beyond their control
feeling rage at the callous actions of others
who think of human life as nothing more than collateral in some game of power politics.
On that day we realized that to end the scourge of terror-ism we needed the help of every person around the world:
to make our global laws stronger in service of justice,
to make our global community stronger to ensure that no one has to feel vulnerable, or violated by forces beyond their control.
On that day, we realized that we were strong enough not to give into the temptation to seek a pound of flesh, smart enough to understand that all Muslims are not a threat and many are allies;
patient enough to do the hard work of finding the guilty and bringing them to justice;
wise enough to realize that those who were not against us were actually for us.
On that day we understood that to defeat this threat we must be careful not to abandon those principles that make us who we are.
On that day we understood that the greater threat was not what these men might do to us, but what we might do to ourselves in fear and ignorance.
On that day we determined that our rich diversity was a gift and not a threat; a tribute to the amazing creative capabilities of the human family; not a problem to be solved, but a force to be appreciated, understood and cherished…
On that day when we were attacked by men intent on terrorizing us – they failed…