On November 11, 2001, my little town held a remembrance in honor of those who put their lives on the line for the good of their community. I was asked to write one of the speeches, which was delivered by a police officer and friend. Some of you may not remember the spate of anthrax mailings that followed the attacks of 9/11. That’s what the reference to postal workers is about.
Today, I’d like to share it with you.
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This loss was not sustained by the United States alone, but by the whole world. When the hijackers targeted the WORLD Trade Center towers, they targeted the economies of many nations. When they killed, they killed citizens of many nations. And, when police officers, firefighters, and rescue workers ran INTO those buildings, UP those stairs, and TOWARD the smoke and flames, they were rushing to save people from many nations. They didn’t stop to ask where those people came from. They didn’t ask about their colors, faiths, or incomes. They already knew the only important thing: there were people who needed them.
Since September 11th, a new threat has materialized and has been met with quiet courage. We have come to appreciate the day-to-day dedication and valor of another company of citizens: our postal workers.
We value peace; we hope and strive for non-violent resolution to conflict. We also value the sacrifice of the men and women who go into battle for us when they must. They are men and women of a variety of ethnic backgrounds, of many faiths or of no faith, and they exclude none of us from their protection.
We can do no better than to follow these examples. Tonight, we will sing together, stand together, remember together. Some of us will express our deepest thoughts. Whether those thoughts are filled with faith in a Supreme Being or not, whether they are expressed in the form of prayer or not, whether they are the same things we would say or not, we share them, because we share a common humanity, a common loss, a common gratitude to the people who put their lives in our service, no matter who we are or where we were born.
Mary Parker Follett, an American writer, said, “Unity, not uniformity, must be our aim. We attain unity only through variety. Differences must be integrated, not annihilated, not absorbed.”
Tonight, we celebrate our differences and our community. Tonight, we join together to declare our community a NO HATE ZONE. With many voices, but one will, we unite in remembrance, in thanks, and in hope.
— November 11, 2001, by Marian Allen
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A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: If you don’t know anyone who served their community in any capacity, go online and read about someone who did. If you haven’t risked your life for others, imagine what it might be like, why you would do it.