I remember on September 11, 2001 I was in choir class when I found out. The entire rest of the day nobody in the entire school did any work. We were so intent on watching and waiting, grasping for any news we could. I can remember not being sure it was real, like someone had to have come up with the most elaborate hoax in history.
I had a friend whose mother was supposed to be working in one of those buildings that day, out of town on a business trip. Someone was watching over her, because somehow she got into a minor car accident on her way to the building and was running late, and even a few minutes earlier she would have been gone.
Everyone in America had some kind of connection. There were so many people killed and hurt, and nearly everyone lost someone they knew, even someone they loved.
It is because of this that I support building a mosque near Ground Zero. Only by promoting religious freedom and tolerance will we be able to come together as a nation and do our best to prevent this from happening again. The world isn't perfect; it never will be. But every time we discriminate against people just because they're associated with the religion that the terrorists hide behind, all we're doing is adding to the chaos and fueling the terror.
Even though it was horrible, we have an opportunity to learn from the past. Sometimes that's all we can hope for.
I hope everyone finds a few minutes today for quiet reflection on what we lost, how we came together and became stronger, and how we need to continue to strive for harmony between people all around the world, no matter their race or religion.