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5 Lessons we’ve learned from 9/11 that can help us now


Andrea Booher - Public Domain

Cerith Gardiner - published on 09/11/21

As we mark the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks, let us reflect on the lessons we carry.

Today Americans wake up to face the 20-year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. It’s a day that shook America and the rest of the world, and a day that changed us forever. Over these past two decades there has been a tsunami of emotions: from anger to love; from sorrow to hope.

With these sentiments we’ve learned some valuable lessons that show the resilience and courage we’re capable of under the most extraordinary and devastating circumstances, lessons we can carry with us for decades to come that will help honor the lives of the thousands of people who died or were injured on September 11, 2001.

1. We are strong and resilient.

The moment the planes struck the Twin Towers, as well as the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania, the disbelief and fear were felt by millions. As the reality sank in, this reaction turned to an understandable anger and then to feelings of strength and resilience. This strength allowed people to mourn their loved ones and face an uncertain future. It allowed society to come together and to rebuild itself to become a stronger and united community, a lesson we need today more than ever.

2. Bravery comes in all shapes and forms.

We hold in our hearts all those who tried to help co-workers escape the towers, the servicemen and women who tried to save lives, those who tried to fight off terrorists on the planes, passengers who picked up their phones to say goodbye to loved ones, and those who tried to pick up their lives after the tragedy; their bravery knows no bounds. All these heroes demonstrate a courage and selflessness that we can salute and emulate.


3. Faith can grow from horrific circumstances.

People often turn to their faith to get through life’s difficulties, and this was the case after 9/11. The first recorded victim at the Twin Towers was a priest who lost his life comforting others and bringing Christ to them. The devastating events showed the importance of leaning on one’s faith at a time you might question it the most. With today’s challenges, we need to turn to God when we feel desperate.

4. In tragedy, love is needed more than ever.

From passengers who shared final messages of love with family members minutes before they died on 9/11, we learned what really matters. Life isn’t about the success or the stuff we accumulate, but the relationships we have with others. Daily inspiring stories show the acts of kindness people do for each other that make life more wonderful.

Seth Wenig | POOL | AFP

5. None of us is ever alone.

The grief experienced by people in the United States on 9/11 resounded globally, magnified by the fact that citizens from 90 countries across the world were also killed in the attacks. Countries came to offer their support and help Americans navigate such a terrible time. We continue to see this solidarity with people uniting across borders through difficult times: from firefighters lending support to countries on the other side of the world, healthcare workers crossing borders to assist overwhelmed hospitals, and more. God is always with us, and we experience His love and care through the service of others. We can be that for each other.

Read more:
Why a 9/11 firefighter became a priest

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