THIS ARTICLE APPEARS IN THE RED ROCK NEWS
September 10, 2021
Those of us who recall the searing hours following the terrorist attacks of 9/11 still feel a range of emotions this weekend. We all shared – and still share – a deep horror at what we witnessed, a feeling of humility in the presence of the raw courage on display at Ground Zero by first responders, military personnel and everyday people, outrage at being so brutally assaulted as a nation and, perhaps most peculiar among the chaos, a feeling of familiarity. Many of us had visited Manhattan or perhaps even lived in New York, or visited the Pentagon as a sightseer in our nation’s capital or as a member of our military forces. And of course, almost all of us had traveled by plane.
A sensation of “There but for the grace of God go I” was inescapable. Part of the shock was the undeniable fact that the victims could have been any of us; they were just people who went to work that day, boarded a plane, kept an appointment, or happened to be visiting Washington, D.C. and New York. So, we paused to hug our loved ones and be thankful for the gift of being alive and strong amidst so much suffering. And we resolved to recover and carry on.
On this 20th anniversary, we look out from Red Rock Country on a world in crisis. We are far removed from Afghanistan and New Orleans, from the ravages of COVID and the perils of attempting to escape war, oppression or natural disaster. Tomorrow’s anniversary is not only a time to remember the dead and the incredible courage we witnessed on 9/11, but an opportunity to gain perspective. Let’s reflect on the thought that the issues consuming our time and energy, while inspiring passion and commitment, can sometimes stir unnecessary anger, resentment, or frustration that cause us to lash out. I hope we can acknowledge that our concerns, though essential to our future, pale when compared to the heart-wrenching pain and sorrow of so many others around the world. Let’s respect the anniversary of 9/11 by stepping back from acrimony, acknowledging the goodness in others, and resolving to work amicably for a better Sedona.
Today I am feeling grateful for being able to reside in a beautiful place steeped in spirituality and self-reflection, surrounded by friends and family, with access to public safety and health services, shelter, power and potable water, and so many other first world amenities.
One of the purposes served by public memorials is to give us a place to focus on gratitude as well as sorrow and remembrance. The 9/11 memorial at Sedona Fire Station #6 on SR 179 south of Chapel Road serves that purpose admirably. The centerpiece is a 5 1/2 foot, 3,000 pound steel girder, damaged in the collapse of one of the World Trade Center towers. It is a sobering, moving sight. Tomorrow at 9 a.m., the public is invited to gather there for the annual remembrance cohosted by the Sedona Fire District and Police Department. The event will feature speakers, an honor guard, a flag ceremony, a bell ringing, fife and drum accompaniment and a gun salute. The remembrance is outdoors, with seating, awnings, water bottles and masks provided. Visitors may linger after the 45-minute ceremony; the memorial is always available to the public.
I hope we meet there tomorrow, and on this somber anniversary set aside the daily concerns we perhaps too-easily equate with true crisis. Instead, let’s remember the world’s actual crises, consider ways we can help the suffering, and welcome into our hearts a sense of gratitude for our health, safety and good fortune.
-Candace Carr Strauss,