Where were you on 9/11/01?
The day is seared in most of our memories. What began as a bright and sparkly September day quickly transformed into a day of horror, outrage and terror.
2,996 innocent people were killed that day. 6,000 more were injured. And our lives as Americans changed forever.
The reality struck that we have an enemy who hates our freedom and everything we stand for. An enemy who celebrates the destruction of innocent lives.
No longer is war fought between groups in different uniforms. Our enemy delights in the massacre of anyone who does not share their radical Islamic ideology. And no one is immune.
Over the last 15 years since 9/11, we’ve seen attacks on innocents continue. Thankfully, we’ve been spared attacks of similar magnitude. But we’ve seen more and more “random” attacks by people who have been radicalized. It can happen anywhere, anytime.
So how do we “live ready?” Certainly, one option is to cower inside our homes. But if we give up our freedom and become prisoners of fear, the enemy wins.
The seed for Leave Nothing Unsaid was planted in my heart several years before 9/11. I had seen the profound importance of written words of affirmation modeled by my friend, Larry Elliott, as he faced surgery for a brain tumor back in 1997. He had written letters to his three children the night before his surgery “just in case.”
He “lived ready.” This father’s loving preparedness touched me deeply.
And one of the thoughts “on repeat” in my brain on 9/11 and in the days following was “how many of those who died left anything in writing to those they loved?”
Many departed for work that morning, assuming they’d be home that night. Others boarded planes, headed to or from business trips or vacations, never thinking that day would be their last.
How many who lost their lives on 9/11 had taken the time to “leave nothing unsaid” to those they love? We'll never know.
But how many of the surviving family members would have cherished a letter from their deceased loved one? Probably 100%.
Could this be our tribute to those who lost their lives on 9/11 and following? Could we each express, in writing, our feelings for those dearest to us? Could we affirm the qualities that make each loved one so unique and special? Could we share our hopes and dreams and prayers for them in writing?
It’s a simple task. All it takes is a little time. (And if you need help, please invest in this tool.)
As we approach the 15th anniversary of 9/11, let’s “live ready.” Let’s be proactive about doing the simple things that really matter.
Leave nothing unsaid. One simple way to create beauty from the ashes of 9/11.