I was thirteen on Sept. 11, 2001. I have lived more of my life in a post 9/11 world then a pre 9/11 world. That day I learned that hatred is powerful. I learned that people on the other side of the world in a country I had never heard of hated our county so much that they flew planes into buildings and killed thousands of innocent men, women and children.
I learned that hate could turn men into monsters. I learned that hate can make people do horrible things to people they have never met — they can give people nightmares. Hate made people abandoned their own families and destroy others.
On Sept. 11, 2001, I also learned how powerful love can be. I watched with my 7th grade classmates as people fled the twin towers, I watched as fire fighters and paramedics ran in to help strangers because they cared about their fellow man.
When the passengers on the flight that went down in Pennsylvania (United Airlines Flight 93) realized what was happening in the rest of the country, they knew they had two options, let the terrorist use their plane to cause more pain or try to stop the plane, even if either option would likely end their lives.
On Sept. 11 most of the world reacted to our pain with kindness and love. After planes were grounded across Canada small towns welcomed stranded travelers with open arms to name just one instance, Operation Yellow Ribbon, in which 238 airplanes were redirected from United States airspace to prevent further attacks and citizens welcomed people into their homes to help with housing and feeding the stranded travelers.
I am sure you are asking yourself why I am telling you this, I know that many of you are too young to remember the attacks as vividly as I do but I am asking that you remember the sacrifices made on Sept. 11, 2001, and react with compassion and kindness even in difficult situations.
I also know that in the coming months Afghan refugees may move into our communities and I would urge you to treat them with kindness and respect. Show them that love is more powerful then hate and fear.
Jessica is in the Digital Arts program and previously graduated with an AA in Liberal Arts and a Bakery Certificate. She enjoys cooking, hiking with her dog, Daisy, taking pictures and spending time with her family.