Today marks ten years since the 9/11/01 terrorist acts in New York and Washington D.C. While I had moved to New York earlier that year and could tell my story of where I was on that day, what I saw, how I felt, etc., that's not what this post is about. I'm choosing to focus instead on the freedom I have within me to just decide that I'm going to focus on the positive about this situation because I want to feel good today: especially today.
It's a bit challenging here in New York every September 11th not to re-tell the stories, see the images and feel the pain that people felt that day. The ceremony at Ground Zero is broadcast every year on television here, people talk about it around the city, and there are numerous reminders on a day-to-day basis about "remember 9-11" on bumper stickers, t-shirts, posters, newspapers, and the like.
But I don't want to remember the horror of that day. I can remember in a way that feels softer, more gentler, and kinder to me: as in looking toward the future, finding the positive that arose out of all of this contrast of that day. Did it make people appreciate their loved ones more? I think it did. Did it bring people together in ways they probably wouldn't have come together? It certainly did. In fact, even people who gather to tell those stories that I'm choosing not to focus on now are coming together in a way that connects them: and that's a good thing.
We all have freedom of choice about how we react to any situation, what we say, how we think and how we feel. That's liberating! Isn't it wonderful that the new tower is called the Freedom Tower? It's a perfect symbol of how we've re-built from the tragedy, creating a beautiful structure that symbolizes one of this country's core values as well as our individual freedom of choice.
I recently took a couple of photos of the new Freedom Tower last month with my phone, on a rainy day while passing by Ground Zero. I also had another shot on an earlier day in August from the Staten Island ferry on a more gorgeous day (on my way to a NY Yankees game!) You can see the Freedom Tower shining!
I decided to post those photos here as a reminder that we all have the freedom of choice: it's within each and every one of us. YOU have a choice in how you live each day. YOU have a choice on whether you see the glass as half-empty or half-full. YOU have total freedom of choice in how you feel. YOU have a choice in how you react to everything in your life, including how YOU feel this day. No one, no event, no situation can be the "cause" of how you feel. YOU choose. Granted, many of us blame others for our happiness, yet someone like Viktor Frankl who spent years in concentration camps recognized that his attitude was HIS choice in his Man's Search for Meaning: "Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way."
So when you look at the new Freedom Tower, can you smile knowing that you, too, can be just as tall, shining and brilliant as YOU choose to be? Isn't that liberating? That's freedom, indeed!