Many have asked what has happened to us as a society.
As we prepare to remember the victims of 9/11 in just a few weeks, we are reminded of a time 20 years ago when our communities came together to help each other. We applauded our first responders, offered our shoulders to those who were crying and all of us came together as one. The amount of empathy Americans, as well as those around the world, showed for the victims and their families was awe-inspiring. While 9/11 was a day to remember, 9/12 was just as important because it showed that we could be unified.
However, the tragedies and issues caused by COVID-19 have left us more divided than ever. Many scratch their heads wondering why people won’t follow the guidance of medical professionals, who last year simply asked us to wear masks and social distance while they figured out the best line of defense against the virus. Despite the significant strides made in medicine over the last few decades, a new form of a virus can still take time to figure out. And then this year, finally the vaccine that we all were waiting for was released, but yet many have refused to get it to help the common good and themselves.
It seems at times we have become selfish and self-absorbed, not worrying about anyone but ourselves. Then again, we shouldn’t be surprised. Look at our roads. More and more drivers engage in reckless driving, whether speeding down the road, weaving in and out of traffic, not pulling over for emergency vehicles or blowing through red lights and stop signs.
In the days of social media, we see too many people believing that their way is the only way and that those who think differently to them are evil or stupid to a point where we don’t respect our fellow citizens.
We have become so selfish and judgmental at times that we forget when we step out our door it’s no longer about us. The world does not revolve around one person, not even one family or social circle. As we navigate through the day, while our feelings and beliefs are valid and should be respected, the same goes for respecting others. We should also listen to each other. Really listen. It can be difficult at times to balance our wants and needs with the desires of others, but it’s the only way we can live together in peace.
Many have said they don’t want a new normal — they just want normal. Yet, it seems as if a new normal is needed, one where people’s actions show that they care about those around them.
It’s been said that learning about our history is important, so we don’t repeat the mistakes of past generations and benefit from the good elements, too. Now, let’s remember the tragic event of 9/11 and its aftermath in order to be reminded of how we united and moved forward during one of the most difficult times in American history.
We did it then and we can do it again — together.