Of all people, I should have the right to enjoy 9-11. September 11th is my birthday. I share it with many good friends who have decided no longer will they claim that birthday but instead indicate they were born September 10 1/2. But I treasurer this birth date and will continue to treasure it.
Everyone is asking what will the United States of America do on this day; what will the media do on this day; what will the territory do on this day? I ask what should I do now that my birthday has become almost as important as the 4th of July?
The tragedy of 9-11 will never be forgotten. The course of the world will never be the same. The two general responses have been fright over lack of security and reflection on our own lives and how we treat each other.
9-11 causes a psycho-physical pain that comes almost without notice. The pain is the clear understanding that at any moment, our freedom can be threatened; our way of life dramatically changed; a feeling of security at any cost, even if it means going to war.
In our interfaith events, we have seen another response — a renewed effort to reach out to others in the spirit of dialogue and compassion. People are awakening from the severe trauma of 9-11 with a realization of the preciousness of their own lives. 9-11 is saying that when we are discouraged, we can bring hope. When we are afraid, we can teach conviction; when we lament over the direction that the world is moving in, we can remind ourselves that out of the most difficult circumstances, we can collectively develop a better world, a more accepting world, and a more tolerant world. Often we are reminded of the definition of crisis by the Chinese: that of opportunity. America has been the land of hope, conviction, and opportunity. Where else can you see Greek-Americans, Czech-Americans, Jewish Americans, Arab Americans, Afro-Americans and White Americans from small and large towns, from rich and poor families, from country and from town — standing together, shoulder to shoulder, pledging allegiance to the same flag. Tagore, an Indian poet said, "A country is created by the people. It is not made from earth but people's heart. Only through the brilliance of its people does a country distinguish itself." This is the lesson that 9-11 should teach us. This is the opportunity that we have. This is America. Let us always live together by birth or by choice. I am happy that I am an American and I am happy that out of the crisis of 911 that I can still celebrate individually my birth and now collectively my birthday as one.
Cora L.E. Christian
Candidate for Governor
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LIVING TOGETHER IN THE WORLD AFTER 9-11
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