It was a day most of us will never forget. For me, I was in high school. Old enough to understand what was going on, but probably not old enough to truly appreciate it.
The clear blue skies and bright sunshine out my window today, September 11, 2015 are no different than they were fourteen years ago, though that day they were a poignant juxtaposition against the backdrop of unimaginable horror.
26 Canadians were killed in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. While our country didn’t suffer the same magnitude of loss as the United States, we felt our brothers’ pain. When freedom and safety are attacked anywhere, who wouldn’t feel intense emotion? We also didn’t experience what arose in the aftermath – the unity that spread across the entire country, with American flags on every lawn and business and newfound feelings of patriotism in every man, woman and child. We unfortunately did eventually get our own taste for this almost a year ago, albeit to a lesser degree, when Corporal Nathan Cirillo was brutally gunned down outside Parliament, before the perpetrator was heroically disengaged by Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many Canadian flags at one time in my life, and the sense of unity was palpable. No matter what race, religion or creed, we were all Canadian. We were all attacked.
I don’t recall much in the way of vengeance, however. What emerged from this tragic ordeal seemed to be a greater understanding, appreciation, and love for our fellow citizens. These circumstances are one of the few where religion and political affiliation know no borders – each major party leader attended Cpl. Cirillo’s funeral, because hate is something we can all stand against and rise up to defeat. That’s the point. We will not be defeated. We are strong, and tragedies only seek to make us stronger.
9/11 will always bring up intense feelings for anyone who was old enough to experience it – anger, confusion, fear, sadness, and above all, compassion. For those who weren’t, the message now needs to be a positive one. What can we take away from this tragedy, and how can we ensure future generations appreciate the ultimate sacrifice that 2996 people unexpectedly made for us that day?
Good deeds. Charity towards our fellow man. Unity and compassion.
9/11 Day is the largest annual day of charitable engagement in the United States. Each year more than 40 million Americans, and many others in 150 countries, including Canada, observe September 11 by performing good deeds that help others. The goal of 9/11 Day is to keep alive the spirit of unity and compassion that arose in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, providing a positive, helpful way for people to annually remember and pay tribute to the 9/11 victims, and honor those that rose in service in response to the attacks.
At DAS we’re donating items to our local Humane Society, as we are passionate about animals and the people who help them. We are also offering free services to veterans who have decided to become entrepreneurs and start their own businesses – not just today – for life. To offer to give your life in service of others is something I will never truly understand, but appreciate every day. This is just our small way of showing our gratitude.
So what #GoodDeed will you be doing today? Share with us in the comments!