ALL Lives Matter

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As yet another September 11th approaches, with a 3-hour televised reading-of-names, we should be asking ourselves why (even after 15 years) these particular lives seem to matter more than others. Regardless of your beliefs about destiny and happenstance or your definition of a true hero, there has never been an event in history that has been as publicly commemorated as this one.

September 11th is now part of our history and our culture – alongside two World Wars, too many genocides and the Holocaust. But we have never before dedicated a single day, every year, to publicly name those millions of people who have perished. Didn’t their lives matter, too?

Tragedy and heartbreak come in many forms – death from disease, arson, shootings, car and plane crashes. Who are we to decide whose death is more horrific or more memorable? We ALL matter both in life and in death. Isn’t it possible that the 9/11 families are not so much ‘honoring’ their dead as making their own lives (and losses) matter more?

New York has renamed countless bridges and streets in honor of politicians, policemen and even sports figures. The 9/11 Memorial, in its entirety, takes up much of downtown Manhattan. Since when isn’t a ‘moment of silence’ – generally heard around the world – enough?

I’ve always felt bad for people born on September 11th. How do you celebrate your special day when there’s such sadness all around? Do children innocently ask their parents why THEIR names aren’t being read aloud? Everyone grieves in a different way but most observances are kept private.

There’s a time and a place for remembrance of all kinds. But I believe it’s up to individuals to take on that personal burden if they so choose. We will never forget the events of September 11,2001. But isn’t the whole point for us to move ON and look FORWARD to a brighter future?

 

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Word And Deed

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I had a very strange epiphany the other day. After a friend of mine sneezed and I said, “Bless you,” it occurred to me that what I had offered, purely out of habit, was a religious sentiment (albeit an abbreviation) to an Atheist who, nonetheless, said quite naturally, “thank you.”

Though neither one of us was particularly startled by this seemingly normal exchange, I thought about it for a second and asked if I had offended him. He, not surprisingly, answered, “no.”

But then I thought about another conversation I had had with a stranger on the telephone. It was just a solicitation and meant nothing at the time until I recalled that she ended the call by saying, “blessings.” I thought it odd and, honestly, uncalled for but then wondered if she expected some type of response from me. Was I supposed to say, “and to you, too” (or whatever the standard Christian response is)?

I certainly meant no disrespect but, rather, was quite taken by surprise because, in my life, that’s just not something people say to one another. It also goes back to that much disputed custom of wishing anybody and everybody a merry Xmas during the month of December. I’ve never understood why people find it necessary to make the assumption that you’re Christian or that you need THEIR acknowledgment. I know it’s meant to be a friendly greeting but, then, so is the much safer and non-religious “hello.”

Whatever the intended message or meaning is behind the words, it would be so much easier if people just acknowledged one another with a brief nod or a pleasant smile!

Read My Lips

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Have you ever yelled at the driver in front of you (when they stopped short for no reason) from the safety of your locked vehicle? Did you ever curse out the person in line in front of you (under your breath, of course) when they asked the cashier to check the price on several items or to ring up a few items separately for another purchase?

If either of these scenarios happened to you, did you really think the intended victim could ‘read your lips?’ And what would you have done if they could…?

I’ve thought, on more than one occasion, that another human being was:

1) Stupid
2) Illiterate
3) Entitled
4) All of the above

It’s amazing to me that people consider themselves above the law or think that somehow rules don’t apply to them.

I’ve seen people smoke in front of NO SMOKING signs; use cell phones after NO CELL PHONES announcements are made; talk when NO TALKING has been instructed and play loud music (with or without headphones) when there’s a clearly marked sign telling you that it’s NOT PERMITTED.

So, what makes some individuals decide that rules apply to everyone BUT them? I don’t have an answer to that. But I do know that, next time someone takes it upon themselves to ignore such warnings, I will not hesitate to speak my mind, loudly and clearly, so that there is no misunderstanding MY words!