We'd like to
share our love, support, and sympathy with all of the victims,
indirect, of the September 11th, 2001,
attacks on Washington and New York.
art from Enchanted Backgrounds
music by Jon Bon Jovi, offered as a
free download on his site
Let freedom reign.
The sun never set on so glorious a human achievement.
When freedom does not have a purpose,
when it does not wish
to know anything
about the rule of law engraved
in the hearts of men and
when it does not listen to the voice of conscience,
against humanity and society.
Pope John Paul III
We human beings are capable
of greater nobility than other
species, but we are also
potentially much more vicious.
animal can be persuaded
to fear and to hate multitudes
of its own kind
whom he or she
has never seen.
Benjamin P. Spock
like to thank those people who gave so much that day and in the days after
many of whom gave their lives -- in the effort to
help others to survive:
the firefighters, the police, the rescue
workers, the passengers on the jets,
and the many people who performed so
many ever-unknown acts of heroism, kindness, and love.
We'd like to thank
the members of the international community who expressed their deep,
sincere sympathy and empathy over this act that took so much away from us.
We'd like to thank
our forebears in America, who passed on to us their spirit, their resolve,
their resilience, and their desire to do what's right, all of which have
helped us to deal with these tragedies.
We're thankful that
for whatever the reason, the death toll from these attacks
is nowhere near
as high as it easily could have been.
To the many
thousand of people who helped to raise funds for the victims,
counseled and helped and prayed for the victims and their families and friends, thank
are those who will say that the liberation of humanity,
freedom of humans and mind, is nothing but a dream.
right. It is the American dream.
not invent human rights. In a very real sense,
it is the other way
Human rights invented America.
is not a mathematical deduction proved once and for all time.
Democracy is a just faith fervently held, a commitment to be tested
and again in the fiery furnace of history.
We are not bitter,
not because we have forgiven
but because there is so much to be done
that we cannot afford to waste
valuable time and resources on anger.
(Johannesburg, South Africa)
from an account by Tony (read
the full account here):
It is at this point
where I am starting to feel fear. What happened to WTC #1? Was
that an explosion triggered by the first hit to #2? Was that a
bomb? I never saw the plane, just the fireball. Then, the news
repeats the captured footage of the plane actually hitting the
building. We are STILL in disbelief, trying to make some sense of
something so completely unfathomable.
"This cannot be a terrorist attack. This makes no sense. Why?
Then as we are listening to a woman give an account of what she
saw, we see what looks like another explosion, as she begins
screaming "O MY GOD! OH MY GOD." In the office, it feels
like our building just blew up, the whole thing shakes. What was
that? Was it an explosion? Another plane? A bomb?
It is only as we make our way down the stairs and into the street,
that I hear "The first one's gone down!" We run toward
the South Seaport, hoping the tower was not still falling, and
falling our way. Tripping, falling, we can see nothing but the
inches of white soot on the ground. We run.
Then, in probably the most fearful moment of all yesterday, we
hear what sounds like an incoming jet. Are we under attack? Is
that another jet? Are we at war? We run into the Mayor's building
to avoid any more falling debris, and because indoors feels safer
than outdoors at this point.
I am shaking. Where is Amanda?
I am overcome by the feeling I used to have as a small child when
we would gather in the center of the house during a tornado,
knowing that there was not a damn thing we could do but sit, play
victim and pray we survived. It is not the kind of feeling one
As we are indoors, the smoke begins to clear, and the sun peers
through. I cannot get my cell phone to work. Then we feel the
second tower come down. We see the second plume pour through the
spaces between the buildings. More soot-covered people come in,
saying "both of the towers are gone!". Again, a thick
cloud of smoke leaves us in the dark on what began as a clear day.
. . .
teaches that those who commit terrible deeds are not
They are human beings who have done monstrous
If they truly were beasts, they would be
They are human and responsible because they have
betrayed their humanness.
we were children, we used to think that when we were grown-up
we would no
longer be vulnerable. But to grow up is to accept vulnerability. . .
To be alive is to be vulnerable.
don't think of all the misery
but of the beauty that still
the world is full of suffering,
it is also full of the overcoming
some good can be derived from every event
is a better proposition than that everything happens for the best,
which it assuredly does not.
each of us and help
us to deal with
these tragic events
in the way that's
best for us. . . .
also see the world of religion. I see some of my brothers and sisters
trying to be religious without being fully human. They seem a little rigid
and narrow at times, wanting to be holy, but not human. They seem
winning a place in heaven, without realizing or enjoying
the beauty of
earth. They keep the rules, but their
observances look so joyless. Such a
world seems small
and the air in that world is stale.
by Butch Huntley.
Beyond September 11th - Footprints
on the Sands of Time
Gail Pursell Elliott
Turning and turning in the
The falcon cannot hear the falconer
Things fall apart; the center cannot hold:
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
-- written by the poet William Butler Yeats in 1920.
The events of September 11th left
all of us changed in some way. We are encouraged to get back
to business as usual. Depending on your perspective,
that’s not necessarily desirable.
Over the past 30 years I’ve
watched the world change, as I’m sure you have. People
often treat each other more as objects and opportunities rather
than as fellow human beings, worthy and entitled to be treated
with dignity and respect as individuals.
So perhaps getting back to basics rather than business as usual is
what we really want to do. By back to basics I really mean
back to the beginning. To our ‘ceremony of innocence,’
the beginning of experience for each of us, when we were very
young. What were our wants, hopes, needs, dreams, and
desires at that time? The common denominator, despite the
diversity of our individual expression, was to leave our
footprints on the sands of time, the evidence that we were here.
To do something that mattered and left an impact however small.
In the aftermath of the tragedy, this type of evidence was what
moved and inspired us. Police and firefighters running
toward the building and into danger to try to rescue others.
People extending themselves to help each other. The
outpouring of financial help. Three hour lines to give blood
that people stood in cheerfully. None of us would choose to
stand in a three hour line cheerfully unless we felt what we were
doing was of significance on a deep level.
This sense of significance is what motivates each of us most of
all. This point was validated and especially driven
home to me by an interview with a construction worker who has been
working clearing the debris at ground zero. He said that he
got up every morning anxious to go to work. The job he is
doing must seem ghastly to many of us. But this man said to
please not misunderstand him, but that this was the best job he
ever had. Every morning he thinks that perhaps today they
will find another person in the rubble and will be able to give
that family the gift of closure. To him, nothing he had ever
done before seemed so important. He is leaving his
footprints on the sands of time.
Some of the ways ‘business as usual’ has been conducted over
the years has succeeded in blocking the ability of people to
experience a true sense of significance. When we lack that sense
of significance, when we feel what we do doesn’t matter, when we
lose sight of the awareness of leaving our footprints on the sands
of time, that is when we lack energy, focus, enthusiasm, and cease
to care about our quality of work. We stop paying attention
to the needs of others because our basic, unconscious, human need
for significance is not met. Under these circumstances,
people may treat others more as objects and opportunities.
Connecting with our own sense of significance causes us to look at
our immediate environment, our relationships, and our work with a
new view. September 11th allowed many of us the
opportunity to rediscover what we value. Our personal
dignity emerges when we define ourselves in terms of the inner
qualities we value. When we remind ourselves of our unique
qualities, the wonder of being an individual, and the unlimited
possibilities each new day holds. It is a ‘ceremony of
innocence.’ A back to basics exercise in personal dignity
and respect that frees us to once again believe that we can leave
our footprints on the sands of time.
Speaker, Author, Educator, Human
Resources and Training Consultant, Gail Pursell Elliott is
president and founder of Innovations "Training With A Can-Do
Attitude"TM - Promoting Dignity and Respect, No Exceptions,
in companies and communities nationwide.
To receive Food For
Thought messages via email join the website mailing list at www.innovations-training.com
For permission to reprint in a
newsletter or publication, contact Gail at email@example.com
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