Sunday, September 13, 2009

Never Forget!

Picture I snapped at Ground Zero

I suppose I may be a day late and a dollar short, but then reflection and thought takes time. I have been thinking about 9-11 after the remembrances and celebrations of the last few days. In a strange twist of fate, a Virginia Beach native like me ended up right in the middle of the recovery efforts in New York City. Through the efforts of my church to assist Operation Blessing International in their relief, I traveled to NYC and in response, started an organization to mobilize resources in this area to assist. It was called the First Fruits Crisis Response Team.

What we found in NYC amazed me. People from all over the country just showed up, without plan and without thought to their own needs, in order to help a city in pain. I formed life-long bonds with folks in Operation Blessing, especially Jim Esposito. My friend Jim was here in Virginia Beach this weekend, and seeing him reminded me of the amazing camaraderie that existed among the relief workers those first few days after the towers came down.

The Operation Blessing Gang (Jim in blue shirt)

In that spirit, a friend posted the following comment on my Facebook page on 9-11...

Kimberley Jenkins
You are right. We will never forget the day. However, I wonder how we are to remember the community that was shared at that time, to me it seems to have been forgotten. My point: are we only to be in community doing tragedies or is it to be our way of life.

It is of course a great question. In those first moments, we were all New Yorkers. In those first moments, the area around Ground Zero became a sanctuary to the fallen, and complete strangers grew silent to approach the hallowed ground. The world community gathered behind the United States, in testimony to the audacious, undeserved attack. What happened to that sense of solidarity?

First, danger always focuses us on the crucial, critical issues of life. It is abundance and comfort that enables our indulgence in individualism. In crisis we realize anew that we desperately need each other, and discover that which unites us is greater than that which divides us. I remember one man, Antonio Nino Vendome, opened up his restaurant as a relief center for any uniformed personnel. It stayed open 24 hours a day. Seeing the dizzying spectrum of law enforcement patches from all over the country burned into my mind then that boundaries could be crossed for the greater good of the community. (Law enforcement groups are notoriously territorial) I pray we could experience that again.

What do you think? Are crises the only things big enough to remind us of our common needs as humans, our common cause as Americans? I pray not...

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