I actually wrote this blog back in 2007, but the site were I originally posted it no longer exists. I am posting in again here because I feel the personal truths contained in it still exist today:
As a nation, we were united for a time against a common enemy: Osama bin Ladin and al-Qaida. I think we’ve lost much of than unity, so I am sharing a personal story and a challenge to regain some of what we’ve lost.
On the evening before the 9/11 attacks, I had fallen asleep on the downstairs couch with the TV on. I remember waking up and seeing a brief glimpse of the fire in the first tower, not paying much attention to the story. I assumed it was simply a terrible tragedy and went back to sleep after I turned off the TV.
My mom called shortly thereafter and talked to Lisa. Lisa turned on the TV back on and the reality of the situation began to sink in. There really wasn’t much that we could do, so we started to go about our day. Michelle would be safe at school, so we made sure our emergency kits were up to date and we went to work.
My office building was closed and they would not let us in. I was in a bit of a haze…I could not go to work, but what good could I do?
I felt God telling me to donate blood…it was the only constructive thing I could think of to do. I called Lisa at work, told her of my plans and headed over to the San Diego Blood Bank . The sun was blazing hot that day and people were already starting to line up outside. There was not enough room in the lobby to hold all of us. A pastor from a local church recognized the problem and had his staff bring over chairs so donors could sit in the shade.
I remember being one of the first people there. When I was finished, I remember feeling very odd because people were applauding me and other donors as we left…I wasn’t a hero, I was just doing one small thing to try and help out. The heroes are the police, firefighters, rescue workers, doctors, nurses and others to helped out that day. The heroes are the people serving abroad to protect our freedoms.
If you want to remember the 9/11 tragedy and honor those who died that day or who have died since then defending our country, then I have challenge for you: Step Up. Step up and make a difference.
If doesn’t have to be something big, just something to remember that feeling of unity and desire to help. We are all capable of it…we are a generous nation. We step up when tragedies like 9/11 or Katrina occur, but why does it take a tragedy to step up?
Whatever you did to help after 9/11, make it a part of your life. My tradition is to donate on a regular basis. It is nothing big, but it is something more than I did recently. Help someone with a flat tire, call the police when you see a tagger, don’t be afraid to step out of your safe little box and do something small to make the world a better place. That’s how you honor the victims of 9/11: Step Up.
How are you going to step up today?
Image credit: Jon Clark