September 11, 2001 was a trying morning for American Red Cross volunteer Virginia Tyler. It was her first day back at work after a serious car accident. “I had been released from the hospital about twelve hours before 9-11 happened. I had been in a very serious auto accident, had a fractured pelvis, fractured ribs, and decided it was best for me to work from home.” Virginia’s brother called her around 10:00 a.m. to relay the news of the disaster. “We just hung up immediately once I realized he was serious.”
The emotional toll of her personal recovery compounded with the sudden shock hit Virginia hard; she choked up even now when speaking to me. “I remember people jumping, that’s what I remember,” she said, heavy breaths trailing each statement, suppressing tears, “it was a very difficult thing to watch.”
On the one-year anniversary of 9-11, Virginia sent a flower to everyone who had helped her during her recovery.
On September 6, 2001, I was injured in an auto accident that put me on crutches for several months. Throughout that time my friends and colleagues helped me cope with my limited mobility. The gestures of help were many and varied: sending cards and flowers, relocating meetings, providing transportation, telling a funny story, carrying my laptop, or making me laugh. While many kind offers of assistance were not accepted, they were not forgotten.
On this day when you remember the horrific acts of violence against our nation a year ago, do not forget the acts of human kindness and generosity.
I know that I have not.
This blogger couldn’t have said it any better.
On the tenth anniversary of this tragedy, as you mourn the loss of innocent American lives and the senselessness of that violence, do not forget that there is ample goodness and resilience in the human spirit. I encourage you to think of the words of Anne Frank: “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”
Let this day be a memorial to everyone who lost their lives that day and to all those who risked their lives to help; but let it also be a call to improve the world one simple act of goodness at a time.