People Helping People
What struck me the most, in the most awe-filled way, on 9-11 was, people helping people.
When the photos of New York City and the twin towers came out in newspapers and magazines, on the day after September 11, 2001, one thing really stood out for me.
It was pure, simple, people helping people. In these photos, people are leaning on one another, people are supporting one another, walking, people are carrying each other, people are peacefully walking together, out of the city.
This is who we are.
“The Day There Were No Strangers”
In these photos, people of all races, of all religions, of all ages, of all nationalities, are together. None of that mattered, on September 11. In these photos, men and women of every kind and of every sort are sharing their pain. They are sharing their anguish.
In the San Francisco Chronicle, on Wednesday, September 12, 2001, sports writer Gwen Knapp wrote an article entitled “The Day There Were No Strangers”. Here is a quote from that article about her experiences on September 11, where she was stranded in Houston, Texas. She is talking about herself and those she met and observed:
“She was a total stranger… and then again, she wasn’t. Yesterday, everyone felt like family, even thousands of miles from home…
“Somehow, everyone seemed kinder than usual. Instead of acting harried, people slowed down, took the extra time needed to be considerate.
“Yesterday’s [events]… made me feel more connected to other people”
Gwen describes how what people were experiencing was the clarity of just being with each other, supporting each other. It’s hard to remember now, but there were people stranded, for days and weeks, across the country, in those days after September 11, 2001. Everyone wanted to help, and they supported each other. People drove by the thousands to volunteer and to be of assistance in New York City.
On that day we became, simply, human beings who wanted to be with each other, on a day where everyone wanted to feel and to remember a simple human connection. People that had just met banded together, offering each other love, hugs, compassion, and caring.
This is who we are. We want to help and we care.
Simple Human Caring Makes Life Precious
This purity of human spirit was on display, again, during the recent flooding of Houston, Texas, by Hurricane Harvey.
The photos on social media reveal who we really are: we are people who help other people. The images of rescue, by all races of human beings of all other races of human beings, by all ages, because it was the right thing to do, of human beings rescuing animals of all kinds, reveal a triumph of the human spirit.
The actions of strangers on social media who banded together from around the country to assist rescue efforts and coordinate rescue information was a sight to behold. For days after, people were checking up on each other, and checking up on people they had seen in need in Houston, over social media.
People praying for each other. Hoping for each other.
This is what America is really about – this is who we really are.
Preparing Together, Caring Together
The hurricane still raging in Florida area this weekend showed the power of our human spirit yet again – and this time, we were ready.
Groups organized themselves across the country including global participants, meditating and sending love to the people of the islands, of Florida and Puerto Rico, and to the storm itself. Groups stood on the beach in Miami praying and sending love and expanding the energies of love.
Fast water rescue firemen drove from Los Angeles to Miami to be of assistance. Helpers from everywhere sent lists out on social media of how to prepare for the hurricane to those in Florida and Puerto Rico and Carribean islands (Even if they know how!! People wanted to help).
People on social media watched local webcams and alerted police to homeless still sleeping on the sidewalk as the storm approached. As the storm moved on, people rescued manatees as the ocean left the shores.
These are people around the country and in Florida and elsewhere, coordinating efforts, together. Doing what they can. Sending a message over the Internet. Praying and caring.
D*mn, we are amazing.
This is who we are. This is our true spirit shining through.
Unity – Instant Community – Everyday Heroes – Human Caring
Underneath it all, we care about each other. I’d take it a step further. We need each other. We need the love of other human beings. We need the caring for each other than can only come from simple reminders of human love – a hug, a touch on the shoulder, a kind word, listening.
One day, when I visited New York City for my work, a couple of years after 9-11, I was struck by something. I suddenly knew. I knew that almost every person that I was around that day, had lived through 9-11. When the awareness hit me, I was in awe of the everyday people around me.
And suddenly, I could see the recognition in their eyes. They knew that I knew. And in that moment, I saw them as one. United.
It is hard to put words around what I felt, but there was a triumph, there was the sadness, there were emotions that I don’t even have a name for. And there was pride. There was indomitable spirit.
This is who we are. We are made of indomitable spirit.
Folks Come to Help: Our Hope for the Future
A friend whose family was in 9-11 left this comment on my blog, and gave permission for me to share it here with you:
“Folks who do not live here really have no idea of the level of shock and devastation that rippled out from NYC and effected every community for miles and miles. I remember my husband coming home, covered in white dust and embracing him, with our girls circled around us. We stood in the driveway for a very long time, and yes, we knew we would never be the same.
“He shares his stories rarely, but what comes to the surface is as you said above, the amazing way that everyone helped each other. The reactions of crowds in movies to devastation are not the truth. When things explode, folks come to help, and this instinct for assisting gives me such hope for the future.” ~ Alex Clark
In terrible tragedy, a lot of regular people turned into heroes. In the recent hurricane in Houston, Texas, as soon as regular people in neighboring areas, like Louisiana and elsewhere, knew that water rescue was needed, they got on the road with their boats and drove to Houston to help rescue people they did not know.
This is leadership in its most unassuming quality. Leading by doing. By how you behave.
This is who we are.
In The Face of Those Who Would Divide Us, Remember Who We Are
I feel, that as a people, as Americans, we need to know, that our light can still light the way.
As a people, if you think about it, we have experienced attempts to divide us in every way possible. Taking an issue, making it into two sides, putting some of us on one side, and the rest of us on the other.
These are contrived divisions. Who/what/when/where/why is this happening? These details aren’t what really matters.
We are in the driver’s seat – we always have been.
We need to know that our common dream of liberty and freedom is still possible. That our nation is called back to it’s destiny.
That we are supposed to provide leadership. And that, that leadership starts from within. It starts with people helping people, because they care, because they can.
Leading Through Role Modeling: The Restoration of Our Unity Requires an Inner Restoration by Our People
For so long, we have looked without, to our symbols, to tell us who we are. We looked without for guidance and to find ideals to light the way. It is time for us to graduate from this experiment in following. We are a people who are independent, self reliant, innovative and optimistic.
It is time for each one of us, to remember that the flame that guides the way is within. No matter what we have been through, this is available to us.
This light is within each one of us – within each and every human heart.
And no, not telling another person what to do – I mean – showing through our actions, words and deeds, lighting the way in this manner.
Heart-based living. Caring. Sometimes, this means setting really firm boundaries. This is still love – it is love for ourselves, so that we are not abused.
It is saying no to harm.
It is standing firm.
This is who we are.
Indomitable Spirit – This is Who We Are
America, this year on September 11, let’s feel in our hearts our idomitable spirit.
The elevation of the human spirit is our most important policy.
If we create space and opportunity for the human spirit to thrive, and we will naturally step up and go there – we will make it happen of our own accord.
This is who we are.
~ Susan V Lacerra
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