Leon Bibb reflects on 9/11 and the recent hurricanes

Posted at 6:33 PM, Sep 11, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-11 18:33:06-04

Once again, we Americans are in a special place.

It is 9/11. We have been here before. We sit in front of our television screens which once more serve as a kind of chapel. We reflect on the 9/11 of 16 years ago when terrorists turned our lives upside down and inside out as they commandeered three jetliners and used them as missiles to plunge death from the skies that day.

Sixteen years later, we are still haunted by the tragedy roped on America's doorstep. But it bound us together as we Americans winced in horrible, gut-wrenching pain. The hurt still hurts. Today, this 9/11/2017 brings a different hurt. Hurricane Irma thundered through Florida only days after Hurricane Harvey swept through parts of Texas.

So, again, we gather around our television screens as we - the family of America - are riveted to the horrible scenes which spill out from the destruction we see on television, showing real life and real death and much human suffering. Once again, on this 9/11, we realize just how fragile life can be. At the same time, we realize that our lives in this nation are inter-connected, inter-woven, just as they were that 9/11 day sixteen years ago when events of that day rocked us.

There are people who must dig out of the rubble left behind by the hurricanes which pounded Texas and Florida in this weather-turbulent time. The enormity of the pain is not yet fully assessed. It will be big, but the problems weather left behind show the importance of strong political and government resolve, as well as for the general society's resolve to address the pain which fell from the skies.

The trouble also calls for all of us - even as individuals - to help our neighbors. Who are our neighbors? Not just the people next door or who are next to us in the workplace or the marketplace. Our neighbors are also the suffering people in Florida, and Texas, and elsewhere. They are our neighbors, just as surely as the people sixteen years ago were at the World Trade Center, and the Pentagon and that meadow in Pennsylvania when terrorists struck.

The terrorists were perhaps unaware of this nation's great resolve, as we gathered around that chapel of sorts we call the television, as we collectively viewed the trouble. It is at this point we perhaps realize just how closely connected we were as a family - just as we still are on this 9/11/2017.