Today marks a solemn anniversary in American history, a day of tragedy made more tragic by the fear-based response that followed…and continues 18 years later.
Nearly two decades later, each trip to the airport remains a reminder of how much our lives changed on September 11, 2001. We still live in fear and direct security policy on that basis. As we remember those who perished, we are reminded that life is fragile and that liberty must be guarded.
A friend at United shared with me a note that United CEO Oscar Munoz sent to employees this morning:
Dear United family,
Today, we remember the colleagues, customers and every single victim of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
I know each of us in the United family marks this difficult moment in our own way. Still, we all share a common commitment to honor how our brothers and sisters left us and also celebrate what they gave to us during their lives. We remember their professionalism and heroism. We cherish their camaraderie and friendship. We carry with us the examples they set forth, especially in the heroism and bravery displayed by so many on that terrible day. Above all, we understand a simple truth: While thousands of our fellow human beings lost their lives in New York City, Arlington and Shanksville, the attacks of September 11th were aimed at all people of peace and good will, everywhere. They were attacks on the values that make life worth living, as well as the shared purpose that make us proud of what we do as members of the United family: connecting people and uniting the world.
We may live in times scarred by discord and disagreement, and we know there are those around the world who seek to divide us against one another. But, on this day – above all – we come together, as one. We affirm our core belief that far, far more unites us as citizens and fellow human beings than can ever divide us.
Let us embody that belief as we go about serving our customers and one another – on this day and every day – as we continue to help building a world that’s more united. Let that be our memorial to the sisters and brothers we lost, eighteen Septembers ago.
Indeed, that should be our memorial to those who lives were lost 18 years ago.
I have offered 9/11 reflection posts several times over the years.
I think my 2011 reflection was most poignant and don’t see a need to rehash that here today.
The best antidote to terrorism is to treat others as you want to be treated. Let us not live in fear, but with discernment and a steadfast determination to treat one another with the dignity and respect that those who take the lives of another human being so callously forfeit.