September 4, 2011 — The events of 9/11 crystallized for me, the belief that we must unite as peoples of the United States, and indeed of the world, against those who seek to destroy our freedoms. The beautiful diversity that we share was challenged, making us fearful, and causing us to begin to close our hearts to those whom we might have trusted.
We have a choice. We can be afraid of anyone different from ourselves, look out only for ourselves, and live so that only the fittest survive. We can allow terrorism to win by shutting ourselves down.
Or, we can decide in our hearts and minds that humanity is one family with many beautiful expressions of color, language, and customs. We can say that we will honor all those lost, and those who mourn, by declaring that we will unite toward a True Democracy–where all are equal, and all are free!
The choice is one we each will make.
Children need our leadership away from images of fear and messages of hate, to commitment to peace and unity. This is why we need to commemorate and celebrate September 11 annually as “International Unity Day” in our schools and communities. We need to build our educational curricula upon themes of diversity while ensuring equality in every area for children and adults. This is how we prepare our children to live in a world where they will work and live with many people who do not look like them, and who have different customs and beliefs.
We can do nothing and allow terrorism to divide us. Or, we can take steps, small or large, to begin this healing journey.
The choice is ours.
The time is now.
It may be our only chance.
Let’s start before it is too late!
3000 people died at the hands of terrorists
The world stood still
Shock waves shot around the globe
People lost all sense of security
Unimaginable pain was felt
Mothers and Fathers, Brothers and Sisters
Husbands and Wives, Infants and Elderly
Gasped a never-ending gasp.
Terrorism rallied and cheered
Democracy waited, and knew.
Both knew nothing would ever be the same.
We were all victims
Victims of faceless death
Raining equally on weak and strong
Showering the earth with ashes of flesh and mortar.
Love was blocked out like the sun
Darkness covered the earth
The pallor of suff’ring and death
Had levied a mighty blow.
Somehow, we knew
We knew we would rise again
We knew that death could not stop
Any who had ever known freedom.
Freedom was challenged
To rise again like the phoenix
From the ashes of destruction
To unparalleled levels of leadership.
Each of us knew in our heart
That the love of freedom was stronger
Than even the challenge of death.
We knew we’d never forget.
Our courage was strengthened
Our commitment to peace was renewed
We knew that if we divided, they’d conquer
We knew we must each carry forward.
For the sake of our children
Our children’s children, and again theirs
We would not succumb to hate and terror
We’d build up-not tear down.
We realize that my brother’s brother is mine
That my sister comes in many colors
But we’re the same
Beneath the skin.
We realize that we must unify for freedom
Out-number, out-rank, out-care
Those who would tear down our buildings
Our symbols, our children, our hearts.
We realize that united, we stand a chance
Of overcoming the hate that would kill us,
Of freeing the oppressed everywhere,
Of demonstrating love as stronger than fear.
We are united in service
We’ll share love and support ’round the world
We’re taking love of freedom to new levels
We’ll demonstrate that love is stronger than hate.
We’ll be grateful
That terror does not reside within us
That we will overcome terror, and fear of terror
Until only our unity prevails.
On “International Unity Day”
We commemorate all who’ve been lost to terror
Commemorate the bravery of men and women and children
Commemorate our friendships, lifetime allies,
As we celebrate our unified commitment to peace.
*Excerpt from Celebrate Diversity! A Guide for Community, School and Organizational Empowerment
by Sue Kidd Shipe, Ph.D.
To Purchase: https://www.humanempowerment.org/celebrate_diversity.html or Amazon.com
Sue Kidd Shipe, Ph.D.
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