We go about our days getting irritated by the little things such as someone else’s car accident causing heavy traffic making us late for work. Or we’re behind someone in the grocery store line who doesn’t have enough money and has to decide what to put back, slowing everything down. Now we have to rush to get home so dinner can be served on time.
It’s when we remember tragedies like 9/11 that we put the human factor back into our thinking. Instead of being irritated about being late for work, be grateful you weren’t the one in the accident. Have empathy for the people who were. Their lives will be forever changed, whether it’s only a bad memory of a minor accident or a life changing event due to major injuries or even death of a loved one or friend.
That person in the line at the grocery store may just be unorganized. Or they may be struggling to put food on the table for their children after a job loss or other financial struggles.
We never know what is going to happen to us nor do we know what other people are going through. In the days, weeks, and months following September 11, 2001 most people in this country showed more empathy towards their fellow man/woman. The little irritating things became unimportant. Family, health, friends, a sense of community, caring about others, pride for our country, became the important things.
Unfortunately we seem to have forgotten these things. Since that time we have become a country of people divided on both sides of the fence with a them vs. us attitude. Whether it is the war, health care, the economy, or any other area we are affected by or have an opinion on, maybe it’s time to at least try to see what the other side is seeing. Step into their shoes for just a moment.
We don’t need another 9/11 to remind us of what is important. Just remembering, truly remembering, the feelings we felt that day and beyond can help us get back to recognizing what makes this country great – it’s people caring about each other in spite of their differences.