Never Again: Honoring September 11th

By Nina Kaufman, Esq.

Although my colleague, Howard Greenstein, wrote his post “How to Honor September 11th” several years ago, I still think it has enormous value today.

Wouldn’t it be something if we really could turn this day into a day of community service?

On September 11th, people made the ultimate sacrifice for our ignoring the warning signs and reports.  Our citizens and soldiers continue to put their lives on the line every day in ways and places where my grandmother would have asked, “You want to do what?  Where?  What kind of meshugeneh idea is that?”  I don’t know anyone personally who perished in the terrorist attacks of September 11th . . .  I only know people who did.  I have been supremely blessed.

There is a level of courage that human beings displayed when confronted with the unspeakable terror and horror of choosing the way they would die:  Jump from 80 stories or try to outrun thousands of tons of burning steel about to crush them.  They were tested in a way that I hope never to experience.  A day of working toward a better world, a smarter world, an aware world–away from the mind-numbing stupidity on television, in the political corridors, even in cyberspace–would be a profound way to honor those innocents who lost the gamble.

Some people may complain that they don’t need community service–they’ll remember September 11th and its impact for as long as they live.  But what about those who aren’t born yet?  Or who were too young to remember?  As poet and philosopher George Santayana once wrote, “Those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it.”

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