• <p>A quilt on display inside the 9/11 Museum and Memorial in New York City. </p>

    A quilt on display inside the 9/11 Museum and Memorial in New York City. (Photo by Gina Capellazzi)

  • <p>The 9/11 Museum and Memorial in New York City.

    The 9/11 Museum and Memorial in New York City. (Photo by Gina Capellazzi)

Lessons learned from an unthinkable tragedy

Gina Capellazzi/Catholic Courier    |    09.11.2019
Category: Our Two Cents


Sept. 11, 2001.

Though it has been 18 years since that day, I remember vividly where I was when I heard the news. I was just a few days into my senior year of high school. I was sitting in my peer leadership class when a health teacher walked into our classroom and said that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. This health teacher was known for his humorous demeanor, so at first my teacher thought he was joking. But, sadly, the message he had relayed was anything but a joke. For the rest of the day, we watched the day’s events unfold on TV.

Yet what I remember most is how people responded during our nation’s darkest days. Within hours, there were lines of people outside of blood banks to donate blood; churches opened their doors so people could gather together in prayer; American flags were hung in windows of homes and cars; and people were openly thanking first responders for their service. In the days that followed, I remember gathering with my peer leadership classmates at my teacher’s house to make ribbons for the high-school students to wear and plan other things of remembrance.

I wish we all would remember these moments more. Today, our nation is divided and seems always at arms over issues of the day. Yet on Sept. 11, 2001, and the days that followed, it did not matter your race, religion or political background — we were all Americans, and we all came together in the midst of such an unthinkable tragedy.

So while we’ll never forget the events of that day, let us not forget how we responded, and let us strive to be “one nation under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all” every day.

Capellazzi is new media coordinator for the Catholic Courier.

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