In May, I visited the National September 11 Memorial and Museum in New York City. It is a somber place, designed to symbolize  the loss of life and interpret the meaning of  September 11, 2001. City sounds are muffled by the roar of falling water. Entry to the museum was sold out that day and I walked around the plaza in a state of remembrance and quiet reflection.

Today marks thirteen years since the tragic events of 9/11 and its aftermath. While I’m curious how the museum’s curators interpret the meaning and significance of the tragic events of 9/11 and its aftermath, I don’t intend to go back to the memorial.  Instead, in today’s ritual, I pray in service to an alternative vision.

caption this just in case

A Wall of Hope across the street from Providence Convention Center, site of 2014 Unitarian Universalist General Assembly

In my imagination and through this image, I do re-visit a different memorial  from a different commemorative site. Along with thousands of Unitarian Universalist sisters and brothers in Providence this June and amidst all the hustle and bustle of our annual assembly,  I paused to take this photograph.

While we may forever mourn the experience of victimization thirteen years ago this week, I hope and pray we as a people make manifest a “common vision for a closer community ” wherever we live, love, and work for “war and hate doesn’t get us anywhere.”

Today I mourn for the days in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. Those few precious days when pain and suffering opened our hearts to one another; where people in town and cities across the country (the world!) experienced an outpouring of human compassion not only for first responders but also for one another. Where I lived at the time, total strangers made eye contact and embraced on the street.

Let’s revisit that place in our hearts and begin again.

We can do better than avenge human suffering.