P.S.-Pooh Says...

"What day is it? - 'It's today' - squeaked Piglet. 'My favourite day' - said Pooh."- A.A. Milne

10 September 2011

Moving Beyond the Horror-Beyond the 11th

 “There’s a way in which each of us makes small choices every day. And after a period of time those choices develop into a pattern. Each moral and ethical choice forms our identity. It seems to me that the terrorists who flew planes into the buildings on September 11th, they started making choices a long time ago — choices took them so far off center that flying a plane into a building seemed like the right thing to do. It’s like any one of us. We choose our way into being ourselves. And I think that’s what Patti and Susan do in little choices and in big choices. When given a choice between violence and love — they chose love. When given a choice between retribution and restoration of harmony — they chose restoring harmony. When given a choice between death and life — they’ve chosen life. That’s just who they are. It’s who they’ve come to be. It’s who they’ve chosen to be. And because of that, their children are learning to choose life as well.”
—Jim Fleming, S.J., Patti Quigley’s brother, in Beyond Belief

I wrote this post several years back, but on this the 10th anniversary of a day that haunts us still, as it should, I believe more than ever that the only answer to be found in that day is to Move Beyond-to take the memories and create change, make a difference that resonates in lives and that has true meaning.  Hanging flags, building monuments, dedicating memorials are all important signs of remembrance but do they move us forward as a society, do they show the world we believe in hope?   

I think what I will always remember most viscerally about that morning is the sky. It was a September sky, that rare blue, clean and clear, that reflects the perfection of a late summer/early fall New England day. I wonder now how often I looked at the sky that day. How could a sky that glorious have held such horror?

On the morning of September 11, 2001 I was watering the late summer flowers willing them to keep summer going a few more weeks. I drove to my office with only a small news blip of a plane having flown into a building in New York. By 2:00 as I drove back home there were no planes flying in the sky. When the roar of a plane's engine streaked through the complete silence of that afternoon I pulled the car over with my heart pounding as I realized the aircraft I heard were fighter jets from one of the Massachusetts bases. Once again I looked to the sky.

Living in Boston we all had six degrees of connections to the thousands of tragic stories of that day. Some of those stories lived their lives less than a mile away. Susan Retik and Patti Quigley lost their husbands, David Retik and Patrick Quigley, on flights that left from Boston that day. Susan was pregnant with her third child and Patti was eight months pregnant with her second child. They became single Mothers, Widows, living within a drama that changed everything for all of us but for their lives most of all.

Patti and Susan watched as the country prepared to strike back somehow in some way and saw that the women of the country that housed and trained their husband's murderers had been left alone too. The stories of the women of Afghanistan moved these two American women to action, to turn an unspeakable, deeply personal, tragedy into a promise of hope. Susan and Patti soon learned about the vast number of widows in Afghanistan who had no support, financial or emotional, for themselves or their children. They felt a connection to these women whose lives were shattered by war and had nowhere to turn to rebuild their lives, none of the support that helped Patti and Susan get through. From that connection came Beyond the 11th "...to help provide financial and emotional help to these widows and their children and to give them hope for a better future." Please Visit Pearls of Grace