When I turned on the TV to appease a panicked neighbour, reality hit hard with the fall of the first tower. In the days after 9/11, I craved answers, as well as signs that we weren’t on the brink of Armageddon.
On 9/11, Miami Herald reporter Leonard Pitts Jr. won mass attention with an angry letter to terrorists entitled “We’ll Go Forward From This Moment.” From that moment it also seemed his columns on 9/11 evolved into a growing call for Americans to rise above the horror and be the best they could be….to each other.
Two days later his “Hatred is Unworthy of Us” article stood out to me. It offered comfort and inspiration. On the 17th anniversary of 9/11, I checked to see how Mr. Pitts had fared. Turns out, he’s still with the Herald, thriving and continues, as one fan, Connie Schulz (Cleveland Plain-Dealer), says “to challenge us to be bigger than we thought possible, and then shows us how to get there.”
Re-reading his September 13, 2001 column is bittersweet. Remove the US icons and you’ll find much of it is as relevant today, particularly with the rise of the dark side of Populism. Sadly, divisiveness, racism and hatred are even in our own backyard. We need to keep heeding Pitt’s message and find ways to rise above actions, policies and programs that challenge it.
Hatred is as unworthy of us today as it was just after 9/11.
(Adapted from a 2013 post in Eclectic Insights, a Tumblr blog.)