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~ Surviving Tragedy - September 11, 2001 ~
Recent Example of Surviving Tragedy - September 11, 2001
No other recent event, except the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor has numbed, shocked, horrified, angered, enraged, and unified most of a nation, as have the events of September 11th. This incident will leave an lasting imprint on our personal and national psyche. Images of terror and inspiring stories of courage have been indelibly etched into our memories. This tragedy will reshape how we think about ourselves, our community, our country and our world. To paraphrase Stephen Levine, in order to heal from this grief we are being forced to a depth of our emotions that is usually below the threshold of our awareness.

Many have used the event to reassess and reevaluate priorities and goals. They are seeing this period as one of self reflection, a time to count blessings, to be with and appreciate loved ones, to be kinder to each other, to reach out to those in need, and to honor the strength of the human spirit in the face of adversity. This tragedy has taught us that life is very short and very precious.

These events have sensitized people around the world by witnessing a common loss and made it possible for them to relate by experiencing a common grief response. We can be hopeful that after living through these events people may now be more aware of the suffering of others and no longer turn their backs on those who are grieving.

Dr. Robert Schuller sums this up:

Our grief always brings a gift.
It's the gift of greater sensitivity and compassion for others.
We learn to rise above our own grief by reaching out
and lessening the grief of others.

This tragedy has helped to inform and educate both the public and professionals about loss, what is considered to be a "normal" grief response, and what is an "abnormal" response that requires further help. People now understand more about loss and the grief response and may be able to better cope with future losses. Ultimately this education helps in "normalizing" the grief response and enhances the recovering and healing processes.

In the absence of wake-up calls,
many of us never really confront the critical issues of life.

Stephen Covey

Those who have survived this tragedy have received a "Wake-Up" call and have been given the opportunity to reassess and re-evaluate our lives. Life is very different in the aftermath of these events.

The Unity Ribbon was created by Rowan in response to the September 11th Tragedy to be a symbol that could draw people back together and help unite not only the United States, but also the world. Ribbon available at: 

There are some improvements in our national character that have come about because of this tragedy. We're a softer people, we're a more deeply sober people. I think we realize now our vulnerabilities in a way that make us appreciate the fragility of life, that make us kinder to each other...I think that when you suffer, you're more sensitive to the suffering of others.
Marianne Williamson

See the Emergency 911 Page for links to immediate resources
if you are feeling helpless, hopeless, overwhelmingly depressed, or suicidal.

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Last update Sept. 11, 2002