Photo by Spencer Imbrock on Unsplash
“Where were you when the world stopped turning On that September day?”
Alan Jackson croons in his song, ‘Where Were You When The World Stopped Turning’
People ask each other, “Where were you on September 11th?” when reminiscing. It is a flashbulb type of memory that shows up so clearly in the timeline of all of our lives.
The tragedy that breaks our hearts and yet brings us all together.
On days of remembrance like September 11th, it can be hard to deal with the memories and trauma that overwhelm us. Perhaps you want to take action, donate or connect with others but don’t know how to do so.
Well, we have some ideas to help work through the grief, connect with community and honor those who were lost on that terrible day in our nation’s history. No action is too small.
“Even the smallest act of service, the simplest act of kindness, is a way to honor those we lost, a way to reclaim that spirit of unity that followed 9/11.”
—President Obama in a 2011 radio address
Remember the heroes, victims and survivors
“My older brother John lived [his life] in Technicolor … When he walked in the door, the whole house lit up. And I’m sure heaven lit up when he got there too.”
—Anthoula Katsimatides at the World Trade Center site in 2005
Considering a trip? Ground Zero itself is a place that many travel to pay their respects to those lost during September 11th. It is very much like a pilgrimage to a sacred spot for the religious.
“Within the two years since the National September 11 Memorial & Museum opened its doors to the public in 2014, more than 5.7 million people visited the destination to view more than 10,000 artifacts, 23,000 photographs, 1,900 oral histories and 500 hours of video — all telling the story of what happened during the terrorist attacks.”, The American Legion Auxiliary writes.
For activities closer to home, you can donate blood, ride horses, race motorcycles, play golf, run a race or join a musical tribute concert at one of the locations near you.
Don’t hesitate to create your own activity or get-together in honor of September 11th! Does your family enjoy barbeques, basketball and rafting the river? Then consider creating an event to share with loved ones.
We are always better together.
Connect with your community to honor those lost
For community events that are tied with symbols of 9/11, you can participate in moments of silence, a 110 story stair climb (the highest point of the World Trade Center), volunteer or do a 9/11 heroes run.
Acts of kindness: how tragedy brought the nation together
“One of the worst days in America’s history saw some of the bravest acts in Americans’ history. We’ll always honor the heroes of 9/11. And here at this hallowed place, we pledge that we will never forget their sacrifice.”
—President George W. Bush at the Pentagon in 2008
Read and reflect on how acts of kindness should be used to commemorate the day of 9/11 and how,
“Service as a way to honor the victims, workers and volunteers of September 11 ensures that future generations will learn not only about the attacks but about how good people around the world responded when our nation was severely wounded.” as Jay S. Winuk writes here.
Learn about the “Bucket Brigade” of New York City, the $700 million dollars raised, the thousands of hand written letters sent and the service members who showed up to honor those who died in the attacks here.
These memories and the feelings around September 11th and the aftermath are truly heavy. If this brings up strong emotions for you, please reach out for support.
If you do not have a strong family, friends or community support system then please do not hesitate to reach out to the resources below. Compassionate, calm and knowledgeable staff are waiting to answer your call.
Your health and happiness matters not only to you, but to all of those around you!
Fill up your emotional cup so that you can overflow with loving support into other’s lives to help them through their struggles.
“Calling CONTACT Helpline, is a way to cope with dreadful loneliness. A friendly warm and compassionate Helpline Specialist is waiting to talk with you. Talk about anything, the weather, problems on the job, your feelings of loneliness and isolation. It is a safe place to reach out and connect, connect with another person.”
Emotional Listening Support Line (Toll Free): 1-800-932-4616
Teen Line: (717)394-2000
Suicide Helpline: 1-800-273-8255
If you’re thinking about suicide, are worried about a friend or loved one, or would like emotional support, the Lifeline network is available 24/7 across the United States.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1(800)273-8255
Nacional de Prevención del Suicidio: 1(888)628-9454
Veteran's Crisis Line: 1(800)273-8255
Options For Deaf + Hard of Hearing: 1(800)799-4889
If you would like to contribute to foundations created in honor of those whose lives were lost please check out: Give Back: 7 Foundations That Honor Victims of 9/11
Where were you on September 11th? We’d love to hear your memories in the comments below.