It's amazing how much can change in thirteen years. When the attacks happened in 2001, I was a high school teacher at an alternative campus in Angleton. I was finishing up my Master's in Education, and I was living in a pretty nice apartment in Lake Jackson. I honestly thought I had found my career path, that I was maybe a date away from finding the woman I'd spend my life with, and that I knew good and well what my future would be.
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People will do horrible things. They will dehumanize others. They will tear down all the good they can find. They will gun down children.
But what they won't do, what they can never, ever do, is define humanity. Because humanity is good. It's about building something that lasts. It's about helping people fight the evil things people do, overcoming the sickness in the hearts of people. Humanity is crying about the hurt its seeing right now.
And from this, a lot of humanity will go forward and do something. They'll make the hurt have meaning. They'll heal the wounds and point to the scars to say, "That happened, and now we will always remember."
Because that's what humans do. They take the hurt and heal it. They take the evil and destroy it. They build something that makes the world better, and they do it in memory of those who died in horror.
Look at every human near you, right now, and love them the way you love yourself. Forgive them like you would want to be forgiven. Give them everything they need to feel human in the face of inhumanity. Horror will always happen. It's the enemy. It comes for us. But we will always fight back. And humanity will always win.