Dona Nobis Pacem – 9/11

Image credit: Shannon’s Moments of Introspection

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.

There was an excellent post by Ruby of A Canvas Of The Minds a couple of days ago to mark World Suicide Prevention Day, in which she promoted the idea of:

“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


12 thoughts on “Dona Nobis Pacem – 9/11

  1. When I told God last year that all I wanted was peace, He said, “Peace begins with you.” Immediately I thought of an old song, “Let there be peace one earth and let it begin with me. Let there be peace on earth — the peace that was meant to be. With God as our Father, brothers all are we. Let me walk with my brother in perfect harmony . . .” That’s all I can remember of it. It was a beautiful song!! Peace is a gift God gives us, but we have to accept it. Then we can offer the gift to others. Yet they, too, have to accept it. Some will. Some won’t. That’s life.

    This is also life: My oldest niece called me the other day and to my sorrow she told me that her youngest daughter, who has already been to Afghanistan once and was told that the women would only have to serve one tour, is going to be deployed yet again!! Although her contract ends, the Army is tacking on more months to her contract so she can spend another year in a country not our own where people hate us and kill us!! Why? Dear God, why?!?

    1. Gosh, Kathy that is awful. I will pray for her safety and peace of mind for your family. I would hate to have family in that situation. I totally get your question “why?” 😦

  2. John Richardson

    Wonderful thoughts Cate, and I believe the people of the world agree with you. I don’t think people make war, I think governments do. I recall during the cold war thinking that there was so much about the Russian people I admire. Their strength, courage and resolve. I have very postive thoughts about the people of Iran and know that there are many people there that simply want peace. In North Korea I expect many of the people there would just like to get enough to eat. It’s not the people it’s the governments. Sometimes they make the right decision and go to war when it really is necessary but this in my opinion is rare. The cost of war in terms of treasure, blood and loss is almost always underestimated. I think to solve this problem in the world one must solve the question of why so many people in the world have so little control over what their governments do. Here in the United States we can’t even get our congress to work together. In the interim I think the best we can do is love the people we come into contact with, do what we can from where we’re at and remember that forgiveness is one of the greatest powers on earth.

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  6. I feel so sad for what you have had to deal with NZ Cate. I hope, too, that the world can become a better place, and such events as 9/11 will never happen again. I also hope that one day you will be able to celebrate your birthday again…it is because people like you were born and have contributed such caring to the world that it may become so. Your birthday is an anniversary of that, and without excellent people like you, the world would stay as it is.
    Although this post isn’t from Nov 4th, it is worthy of being part of today’s peace movement, so I am including it on my blog “Peace Bloggers Unite”. It is as relevant today as in September!

    1. Hi Annelisa, Thanks for your comment and for reading these post. You’ll be please to know that this year I was actually able to celebrate my birthday and feel good about it. It was such an amazing feeling, I hope it continues for many years to come. Thanks. Cate 🙂

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