September 11th changed this country, and the world for that matter. Mentalities toward others changed. Grieving, both communally and individually, was overshadowed by war and violence. 20 years later, we are still seeing the devastating impacts of this horrific event. After two decades of war, we are still seeing the rise in hate and extreme nationalism. Here are 5 ways we can honor and remember September 11th all these years later:
- Center the victims and families
When the buildings went down, when the planes flew into them, and when emergency workers did their jobs, lives were lost and taken. Families were generationally impacted with grief and trauma. September 11th should always be a day to honor those lives that were lost, unclouded by false nationalism and hate. Say the names of the dead. Reach out to the families who live it every day. And investigate the trauma that everyone experienced on the day our country truly changed.
- Denounce extreme Christian nationalism
Christian nationalism has always existed in the US. And after September 11th, Christian nationalism grew into an extreme that fueled war, fear, and hate. How do we begin to separate the teachings of Christ from the civil religion created in the USA? The Presbyterian Church USA has multiple policies speaking out against extreme Christian nationalism. Here is just one of those policies.
- Confront the consequences of war
War was the response to the events of September 11th. The US is currently experiencing the impacts of a 20-year war that, to some, was a waste of money and cost too many lives. The people of Afghanistan are suffering and the whole situation has turned into a humanitarian crisis. In what ways are we working toward responses of non-violence and anti-war action? Here are some actions provided by the Presbyterian Church USA to confront the aftermath of the war in Afghanistan.
- Condemn islamophobia & xenophobia
September 11th spurred an increase in hate and fear toward our siblings who are Muslim and from the Middle East. This hate continues today. As people of faith, we are called to condemn white supremacy culture that manifests in islamophobia and xenophobia. How do we continue to denounce hate and love our neighbors?
- Advocate for more social services
Police, fire fighters, and EMTs were the first responders to the horrible events of September 11th. We will never forget their bravery nor their sacrifice. After September 11th, the US experienced an almost extreme romanticization, specifically, toward the police often leading to lack of accountability and defunding of other public resources. What would it look like to expand our services to the public? Instead of calling the police for mental health cases, what if we had trained mental health professionals on call? What if we expanded our idea of what it means to be a first responder?
This JustList was produced by the Unbound team.