As I write today, it is actually September 12 in my part of the world, but I want to recognise that in the United States and around the world, 9/11 is being remembered again today. As I wrote yesterday, 9/11 also marks my birthday, and while this year I have finally been able to celebrate that fact again, I admit that celebrating anything on this day just doesn’t seem quite right anymore.
I find myself almost being apologetic when asked when my birthday is, and I know that I am not the only one who feels this way about having a birthday on such a day. The other thing I note is that until 2001 my birthday was always 11/9 because that is the way we write the date in my part of the world. Now it is so much easier to say my birthday is 9/11 and still know that people won’t think my birthday is November.
But one day on is actually what I remember. It wasn’t September 11 that the world seemed to fall apart in New Zealand, but rather it was waking up on September 12 that I heard that the planes had flown into the World Trade Center towers, (as well as the horror in Washington DC and Pennsylvania), and it was for the rest of that day that we followed the terrible news.
I was in hospital at the time and my favourite nurse woke me saying that the world was ending (that’s not what you need when an inpatient in a psych hospital). I had no idea what she was talking about but in my very unwell state assumed I must have done something really bad. In the next weeks I battled between reality and some sort of depressive delusional fantasy.
I was far from well and it wasn’t long before doctors decided that I was a candidate for more Electro Convulsive Therapy (ECT). Lucky me. I was well enough to sign on the dotted line but I knew little else except for concluding by then that 9/11 was all my fault.
The road to recovery has been long but one of the things that has become more important to me is the need for us to work towards peace. There is too much hate, too much bloodshed and too much war in my mind. It’s not something that I feel at all comfortable about, and the need for us to love our brothers and sisters seems increasingly urgent in my mind. Why can’t we stand side by side?
In line with my thoughts on the need for peace, I have joined Blog Blast 4 Peace, a movement of bloggers blogging for peace. This is a group that has been running for six years now and on November 4, there will be a commitment from involved bloggers to write that day for peace. The images included on this post come from that source.
Peace means a lot of different things to me, and it is my hope to explore what it is that I wish for. I have written before about my desire to see Peace Not War, as well as that I admit to being An Idealist. I don’t pretend to think that everyone will agree with what I might think, but isn’t it time we were talking about what we mean by peace and how we can achieve it?
No one wants another 9/11 and while the world has changed much in 11 years, there so much more that is possible so that we can learn to live alongside one another.
“One hand holding on to another. One human telling another human that they aren’t alone. One person sharing their strength and understanding with another person.”
I like this a lot, and while Ruby wrote it in connection to suicide prevention, I see it as something that peace can also achieve, so hopefully Ruby won’t mind that I borrowed it. It applies so well to peace, whether it across the world, in our local neighbourhood, or simply peace of mind for each of us.
Dona Nobis Pacem (Grant Us Peace).
“The day the power of love overrules the love of power, the world will know peace.”
― Mahatma Gandhi
“World peace must develop from inner peace. Peace is not just mere absence of violence. Peace is, I think, the manifestation of human compassion.”
― Dalai Lama XIV