“Even the smallest act of service, the simplest act of kindness,
is a way to honor those we lost,
a way to reclaim that spirit of unity that followed 9/11.”
—President Obama in a 2011 radio address
On the eve of 9/11 many of us here in New Zealand are thinking of that tragic day in 2001 when so many lives were lost, so many lives were changed and the world as we knew it changed suddenly and forever.
Even though we are told that there was some indication that a major action was about to unfold, nobody could really have imagined the extent or the effect that it would have.
Here in New Zealand we watched in disbelief as the drama unfolded. Having heard the news on the radio we switched to the television and saw the events as they happened. We saw the unforgettable images of the planes flying into the tower, the bodies falling onto the ground and the faces of the rescuers, working against all odds to rescue anybody at all. These images and words spoken by the firemen, the policemen and other volunteers will stay with us forever.
And in the 15 years since that attack what has happened? Horror mounts almost daily with reports of innocent people being killed or forced to flee their homes, people living in daily fear of what will happen next. We hear of young girls being kidnapped by Boko Haraam, many of whom are still missing years later. Journalists and Peace workers are being murdered and video reports of this are sent around the world. Fear and belief that all Muslims are evil is escalating and we see evidence of this all around the world. Where will it end? And how can it be ended? Not with more violence and hatred because we know that this only feeds itself.
Perhaps it’s naive to consider that we should or could give peace a chance as John and Yoko Lennon suggested in 1969. But how could this be achieved? Are any of the “Powers that be” putting any thoughts in this direction, because somebody with some authority has to have the intestinal fortitude (read guts) to begin. I fear that there is nobody brave enough or committed enough to be the first.
“Imagine there’s no countries, it isn’t hard to do
No need to kill or die for and no religions too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace
You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one”
From the song Imagine by John Lennon and Yoko Ono
So on this day each year we will remember the folks who died on that tragic day and remember all those who are still suffering because of it.
May I share my rainbow with you in honour of those people?
Note – First paragraph changed – see Erratum