It’s Sept. 11, 2013. Twelve years. A lot happens in 12 years. A whole generation has come and for many 9/11 is a day of tributes on TV, a discussion in the classroom or simply black white words on the pages of their history books.
It’s understandable. It’s like how growing up I didn’t understand the gravity of Nov. 22, 1963: The day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Or even April 4, 1968, when Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed. We all know about these events, but it’s a completely different experience to have lived through them.
All three of those events helped shape our lives, regardless if we were there because they changed our country. For Sept. 11, I’m always intrigued how it changed the conversations around discrimination and acceptance in America.
We all saw the shift. For me it was surprising to witness. To be in the airport security lines and see the glares given to men wearing turbans. To hear family members say rude things about Muslims. And as many of you know, the time I came face-to-face with a hate-filled, screaming racist. (If not, you can listen to my NPR-esque story here.)
Today is the 12th anniversary of the attacks that killed 2,983. And today one of my beautiful-souled friends spoke in front of six first-grade classes about how music and culture bring us together as people.
I wish I could have been there to see this warm man in his turban before wiggly giggly first-graders. He wrote about it on his Facebook page, noting that though the children didn’t know about the pain and terror of 9/11, today they learned more about togetherness, which honestly is the triumphant message.
“They just laughed and rejoiced learning to sing ‘Conga ! Conga! Conga! Me gusta la Conga!’ while being accompanied by a Sikh man with a turban and beard playing the punjabi Dhol drum! Today we celebrated our diverse and rich cultural backgrounds through music and song, and learned from a ‘Lion’s Mane’ how to tie a Patka and that ‘when we learn something new.. It makes us stronger!’ God bless!”
So on this day, as we’ve reflected on the horrible tragedy of all the pain, loss and broken hearts and broken dreams, we should also try to focus on the triumphant message of togetherness.