Nineteen years ago, we experienced the single largest loss of life from a terrorist attack on American soil. Four coordinated attacks—committed by al-Qaeda on September 11, 2001—resulted in the tragic and untimely deaths of 2,996 innocent people and over 6,000 sustained serious injuries. We cannot pretend to know the vast number of people who will one day lose their lives due to 9/11-related cancer and respiratory diseases. As a nation, we were shaken, afraid, horrified, grieved and hardened. Nevertheless, we returned to our daily lives to prove we will never forget or capitulate.
Here are some lessons that I’ve taken away from this horrific tragedy.
- Life is precious and could be lost at any moment.
- Cherish the time we have here on earth.
- The world is still a beautiful place with wonderful people.
- Sadly, we always need to be vigilant, aware and on the lookout for danger.
- Do what you love since life is short.
- Ordinary people can do extraordinary things when needed most.
- We shouldn’t give up our liberties out of fear.
- Instead of anger, put that energy into positive actions.
- Unfortunately, the reality is that there are people who wish to harm and kill us. Never appease or ignore them, as they will never stop.
- Treat others as if it is the last time you will ever see them, as that could happen any day. As a lifelong New Yorker, I have never witnessed the compassion, empathy and solidarity that I saw on 9/11 and the days afterward. It would be amazing for us to treat each other with the same kindness without a tragedy.