Thursday, September 11, 2014

September 11, 2001

If you're an American and were old enough to witness 9/11 and its aftermath, you probably remember where you were when the events of that infamous day happened.

I was nine years old, watching the Today show before my brothers and I went to school, and suddenly, behind the smiling tv hosts, you see an airplane crash into a building. My brother said a word I hadn't heard before: "terrorists". My mom took us to school despite the drama, and during the day we heard the intercom buzz on and off as our principal and secretary kept us updated.

I can't tell you how I felt exactly- hearing that strange word repeated throughout the day. What is a terrorist? Why do they do what they do? What drives them?

In the subsequent years, I watched as soldiers marched into Iraq. "We're at war," the president said. As a child, I didn't understand any of this. It was stressful and confusing as older relatives discussed the ins and outs of war and terrorists and weapons of mass destruction. Is a plane a weapon of mass destruction?

What is a terrorist?

Someone who advocates terrorism or use of violence and threats to coerce someone or some nation(s), especially for political purposes.

A terrorist is not:

A Muslim, a Christian, a Buddhist, a Hindu, or a Jew. Religion doesn't make people by definition terrorists, despite a lot of people thinking that way.

Jihad? Have you ever heard of the Crusades? Every religion at some point does something they regret, despite claims that we're doing it for our God.

The point of this post is, growing up in this war weary world, I've learned a simple thing to do to cope with the constant fear, stress, and anxiety that comes with watching the news every day, and today especially, when our bitter memories come to the forefront.

We can't all do our part to combat terrorism- we can't have change minds that have already been made up, and we can't completely squelch the tide of hate.

But we can try to be the opposite of terrorists.

The closest possible antonym of terrorist would be:

Someone who advocates love and use of volunteerism (or helping others) to encourage the spread of understanding, acceptance, and peace. Someone who treats their neighbor (or anyone) just as they would treat themselves, despite their neighbor being a human being with human traits, not believing the same things, being an entirely different sexual orientation, and/or being from an entirely different part of the world.

In our own small ways, we can repair the damage terrorists have done, and continue to do. There will always be terrorists, people who hate, and people who bring negativity into our worlds. What we can do is use our own limited powers to be the opposite of them.

No one will ever forget 9/11. Not everyone will be able to forgive the men who took it upon themselves to terrorize the U.S. and other parts of the world. But on this September 11th, let's honor the victims of the infamous day by spreading love, being patient, and accepting people as they are.

Some quotes for thought:

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."
      ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

"If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. … We need not wait to see what others do."

"Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead."
      ~Oscar Wilde



  1. 9/11 was such a horrible day and I hope people never forget it. I agree with you - every religion does things that they regret although just being part of a religion doesn't make you a terrorist. Wonderful post.

    Laura @BlueEyeBooks

    1. It was definitely a surreal and memorable day, something I felt I had to blog about due to the amount of people who continue to place blame on all Muslims (i.e. lots of older Americans), when in fact it is a small number of extremists who caused it.
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!
      ~Litha Nelle


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