Today, we remember.
And we learn … as Lewis Carroll noted in Through the Looking Glass, “It’s a poor memory that only works backwards.
From Terry Jones, we learn the sad lessons of remembering backwards.
From Susan Retik, we learn the lessons of remembering forward.
“In the shattering aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001, Ms. Retik bonded with another woman, Patti Quigley, whose husband had also died in the attack. They lived near each other, and both were pregnant with babies who would never see their fathers.
Devastated themselves, they realized that there were more than half a million widows in Afghanistan — and then, with war, there would be even more. Ms. Retik and Ms. Quigley also saw that Afghan widows could be a stabilizing force in that country.
So at a time when the American government reacted to the horror of 9/11 mostly with missiles and bombs, detentions and waterboardings, Ms. Retik and Ms. Quigley turned to education and poverty-alleviation projects — in the very country that had incubated a plot that had pulverized their lives” [“The Healers of 9/11” - By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF, Published: September 8, 2010, New York Times op-ed].
On ABC this weekend, a remarkable story of some 9/11 children, who were only infants when they lost their fathers, now left with only their father’s DNA and mementoes of a man they will never know.
Yes, they grieve, as only a child can, with a remarkable degree of depth and innocence.
Their grief is holy, and we must not sully it with the debris of only a backward memory.
With you today, I remember – but more than what was, we best remember what will be, with decisions made like that of Ms. Retik, and millions of others ,who choose their better angels and build a better world.