Today is September 11th. I remember waking up 19 years ago, coming into the living room, and my dad getting down on one knee so he was closer to my level. He told me that earlier that morning two airplanes had crashed into some tall buildings in New York City. I didn’t know what that meant at the time, but I soon found out.
For several anniversaries thereafter, my elementary school class would spend a minute of silence in remembrance of those who died. Each year I learned more about what happened—not just about the hijackings, but also how the nation came together for a few weeks afterwards. People tell me there was a profound, nation-wide sense of mourning, community, and shared strength.
About 3,000 people died, and 25,000 were injured.
Our nation is in the grips of a pandemic that kills that same number every three days. There is a difference between a plane wielded like a bomb and a mindless virus, but the profound dismissal and denial of our present crisis by the current president is criminal. He has utterly failed to unite the nation. He has shown no sympathy for the hundreds of thousands of people who have died. Had he acted better in February—and he knew what was coming—he might have been able to say he saved some.
Now the blood of thousands is on his hands.
He has sought to direct attention away from an ongoing crisis in an effort to improve his appearance. He displays no empathy for the immense loss and suffering in this country. Whereas we have been able to band together in the face of threats in the past, this time we are left weak because of the wickedness of a man who has fanned the flames of division, blame, and ignorance. I have never seen our nation so divided in my lifetime, and I fear what may yet lurk in our future.
May we let the memory of September 11th remind us of what we ought to do in the face of the present calamity. Let us overcome partisan barriers that divide us and focus on solving the problems at hand. I pray that we will be able to turn outwards, and listen, and heal.