The other day, I asked the children I was working with, not yet born twenty years ago on September 11, 2001, if they knew about the importance of today’s date, 9/11.  It was a mixed response with some humor as one child explained she had been taught from kindergarten to call 911 when there was an emergency.  I explained how, for their parents and grandparents, for people like me and you, twenty years ago today, our world changed forever.   We all remember exactly where we were, and the feelings of the day, when we learned of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Dr. Jonathan Peri, the lawyer and educator who serves as president of Manor College in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania, wrote this in remembrance:

Nearly 3,000 people died between the WTC/twin towers, the Pentagon and the plane that crashed in Stonycreek, PA.  We pray for them and their families, as well as for all who were injured.  It’s been 20 years and like JFK’s assassination, we know what we saw, but much that surrounds the tragedy is out of our view.  Evil is motivated to hide in the shadows and blur truth for its own selfish purposes.   

The same happens in today’s politics, which are more adversarial than ever.   

This imposes upon us a duty.    

Our duty is to foster unity and to champion equity.  We now live in a world that is finally recognizing the crucialness of Dr. King’s sentiment, that all people should be considered by the content of their characters, and not their immutable characteristics… 

While the twin towers could not be restored, they have been replaced with a Freedom Tower.  It is the tallest building in the United States, the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, and the sixth-tallest in the world.  It is the cultural picture of resilience and capability, as well as a symbol of the steadfastness of American ideals, such as freedom.  With freedom comes the responsibility to make our world better.   

As you think about that terrible day two decades ago, please take a moment to explore this work by students and educators at a Brooklyn school, The Heartbroken Shadows of 9/11who through their study of 9/11 honor the importance of today.