Today the entire country will honor the lives of the fallen Americans from the 9/11 attacks. There will be shows, postings, pictures, and various types of recollections of that day. During this time, we must remember that not only were public safety and military professionals among those that lost their lives, but unaware civilians as well. This is an area that has not received the focus and attention it should have. I am often reminded when I do funerals that the services are really meant to nurture the living while we honor the dead. There are those of you who unselfishly serve others daily, despite your personal situations and to each of you I thank you.
“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13. While we like to cite this scripture when referencing the fallen military or police who readily sacrifice their lives for the protection of others, civilians do not necessarily relate to this concept. Since there will be plenty of articles and blogs addressing police, fire and military service, I want to focus briefly on those of you who make up the majority of our society: the civilians. Why? Because each of you also serves a purpose in supporting those of us who are serving in more dangerous professions.
Immediately after the attacks on the twin towers, churches across America were filled, some with lines stretching outside. People were seeking answers. And, as with any other conflict, that enthusiasm to seek change faded as the years went on. While stress and tragedy tend to bring us together, the effects wear off until the next significant event. We tend to be more reactive than proactive in our society and that is a dangerous way to live. Considering the climate today between the police and a portion of our civilian population, there are issues that should have been addressed long before the incidents in Ferguson, MO and Baltimore, MD. So who’s responsibility was it to point out these deficiencies before they escalated to these levels? Everyone. Each of us has the opportunity to impact those in our circle of influence on a daily basis and somehow, that influence failed or was non-existent. Why does it take a tragedy to bring us together? Why does it take a significant impact on our personal lives to stand up for change?
Today, as we remember probably the most life changing event that this country has ever faced, I would like you, the people who have never served in the military, law enforcement, the medical field, Fire, EMS or any other public service entity to take a close look at your lives. Your life is no less significant than those who either gave their lives knowingly or unwittingly on that day. So make it count and add your imprint in the lives of others in any way that you can. Whether it is serving food at a shelter, or just repairing broken relationships in your personal life through forgiveness, there is something that you can do to show greater love and have an impact just as powerful as giving your life for others. Remember that you are a significant part of the life puzzle…and all the pieces matter.