"When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping."
There are those moments in life that occur in the blink of an eye, but are replayed over and over in slow motion and become images frozen in our memories. Sometimes these memories are personal; while others enter the collective memory of our country. Depending on your age you surely remember:
· How you learned of the bombing of Pearl Harbor
· How you felt when hearing about JFK’s assassination
· What thoughts went through your mind when you saw the explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger on TV
· Your reaction as you saw the news footage of the Twin Towers collapse on 9-11.
And a decade later as we remember September 11, 2001 and as we continue to grieve 3,000 lives cut tragically short, our country still lacks closure; ten years isn’t enough time to find the answers and to find peace.
Yet we also remember the images of those who risked their lives to respond to the call: the firefighters, the counselors, the rescue dogs, the people who housed families, the volunteers who set aside their lives to respond, the businesses and community groups that collected supplies, and the individuals in our country and worldwide that sent financial assistance. In the aftermath of 9-11 we showed every raw emotion imaginable … but we also marveled at the generosity and unity in responding to the call for help. When tragedies happen, we are so often at a loss to answer, “Why...why did this happen?” But we can always look and see people responding with courage, compassion and generosity to help others in need.
Some of the images in our memories involve those heroes, the brave firefighters charging into the flaming inferno. The rescue workers searching for people trapped in the wreckage, and later for the remains that would provide closure for those grieving. We will always remember those pictures, but thousands of other heroes helped just out of view of the camera, and continued to help in the weeks, months and years that followed. We have no answers for why tragedies occur, but we can have gratitude that whenever there is need, “You will always find people who are helping.”