The horrors of 9/11 felt by all Americans reverberated within the Jewish community not only due to grief at the tragic loss of so many lives but also from a recognition that a terror with which we were all too familiar had now reached these shores. We have marked each anniversary of 9/11 with sensitivity to this awareness. A decade later we feel a keen responsibility to remember and seek perspective for the future.
Here’s what we’ve learned in the ten years since September 11, 2001. We never can lose sight of our best principles, nor abandon our ideals.
On September 11, 2001 we were all much younger. Our children and grandchildren grew up during the last decade in a world less civil and more disturbing. Their consciousness is filled with terror alerts, airport and building security, the sudden news of terror plots foiled or carried out, the longest and, arguably, the most complicated wars in American history. And, all of this against the background of an event they understand more or less, and remember more or less.
I didn’t pass by a security guard to enter buildings while I grew up. I used to meet friends and relatives at the airport gate as they walked right off the plane. I didn’t learn about a Department of Homeland Security when I studied American government in school.
No. None of us grew up during easy times. Every era and every generation face their challenges and difficulties. Yet, this generation that has come into awareness over the past decade needs our help.
They need perspective and hope, as do we. Over the course of ten years all of us have paid a spiritual, if not a moral, price protecting ourselves. Today as we share in the responsibility of safeguarding our nation and each other, together we also need to strengthen the soul of our nation.
We live as we choose, and as we must. Time is precious precisely because we never can know what it will bring us. We continue to travel and to fly. We attend public events and gatherings. We still meet and greet new and different people.
We know our dreams and prayers. We strive to live our lives with confidence and poise. We cherish the opportunities of this world, and in a responsible and balanced manner make them the content of our days. This is how we defend freedom, human dignity, our values, and our way of life. By being optimistic and trusting in the promise of a brighter future.
On September 11, 2001 people, places, and the spirit of our country were attacked. On September 11, 2011 we declare that we are in tact and whole, as we continue to define the meaning of what took place and how we responded.