Monday, September 11, 2006

Fighting Terror

Five years ago today, about 3,000 people died in a horrific couple of hours in New York City, Washington, D.C., and a field in Pennsylvania.

Every human death is a tragedy.

That same day, about 24,000 people around the world died of hunger. You don't die of hunger in a day, or in the time it takes a building to fall down. Starvation is a slow, unhappy death.

The next day, 24,000 more people died of hunger. And the next day. And the next day. Three-quarters of them were children under the age of five.

Every human death is a tragedy.

Their names are on no walls; they have no memorials. Country singers don't write patriotic ballads about them. The people who give their lives to try to help them aren't celebrated and decorated as national heroes. The Washington Post didn't have a big article on September 12, 2001, about the 24,000 lives lost the day before. Or on the 13th. Or on the 14th.

But every life saved is a victory. Twenty-five years ago, the number was 41,000 a day.

When will we say "never again"?

In 1999, 31 million Americans couldn't tell you where their next meal was coming from.

It's important to commemorate our losses; it's good to steel ourselves against our enemies and keep the unthinkable from happening again. Every human death is a tragedy.

We cannot unwrite the events of the past. But, going forward, we shape our world. The choices we make tell us--and the world--who we are.

On this day of U.S. remembrance and mourning, maybe there's a moment too to remember those who are still living, still suffering. We can't bring back those we have lost. But we can change lives going forward.

It's one way to consecrate the memory of the fallen.

1 comment:

Papa Bradstein said...

Amen, brother.