As the 11th of September passes by for yet another year, I am reminded of one thing (besides the fact that the date itself was indeed important since sometimes you tend to shamefully forget about it when a moment of silence is not requested over the loudspeaker). Conflict can unite and divide. Whether the conflict is big or small, people can choose to react in two ways: to work together or pick sides. The outcome of their choices can have great impacts, and sometimes, you cannot objectively determine which choice was the right one.
The tragedy of 9/11 showed that, despite what makes us different from each other or what sets us apart, people can still choose to band together towards a common goal, in this case, to make the choice to save the lives of strangers even at the very cost of their own. That fateful day, the public servants are sworn to duty and the common people alike chose to acknowledge the intrinsic value of a life and recognize a fellow human being like themselves. That motivated them to accomplish what few can say with confidence they, too, would do.
Many things divide us today. Political battles over immigration. Social upheaval over marriage and religious rights. The color of one's skin. Identities. Ideologies. Even in the aftermath of 9/11, how we protect our borders and people has pushed us apart as we sought someone to blame or someone to fix it so we wouldn't feel so out of control. Despite what may be going on, I do hope that when it truly matters, we can still come together in the name of the people—come together like the heroes who had once done the same—and see not what divides us from each other but what unites us as one. Our humanity.
We the people. We are all people.