What would we give to live Sept. 10, 2001, again?
For most it was a Monday filled with Monday's rituals: the beginning of a new work week, family home evening, perhaps an hour or two watching the football game. Who knew that Monday would be the day before a new generation would suffer its own day of infamy?
Tuesday yanked us from Monday's comfort and routine. The world witnessed horror from their living rooms and workplaces. Footage of broken planes and buildings stretched across television screens, carving ugly images in our minds. Hijackers, terrorism and death defined the day. People gasped, asked why and wept. Mothers and fathers fulfilled a sad duty, telling their children that bad people had done bad things. Evil delivered a swift kick.
Yet the wickedness of Sept. 11 co-existed with remarkable goodness. Woven among the hateful scenes were episodes of decency. We learned stories of men and women at the World Trade Center towers who began their morning as perhaps stock traders or custodians — then put on the hero's hat when that first hijacked plane veered into their offices. There were sustaining accounts of strangers helping one another down darkened stairs in a race to safety. And a news report of an injured Pentagon worker soothing her endangered co-workers with the only rescue tool in her quiver — a prayer.
Armies of police officers, firefighters and medical professionals soon descended on the disaster sites. Enlisting know-how and big hearts, they searched for survivors among the rubble. Scores of such lifesavers would lose their own lives.
Soon a nation groaning with pain and rage began looking for ways to help. Many living near New York or Washington, D.C., made their way to the attack's "ground-zero," finding ways to volunteer or support professional rescue crews. Others erected make-shift memorials around the dust-laden crime scene, cheering encouragement as relief workers began and ended their exhausting shifts. Even Manhattan-area school children aided hungry rescue workers by offering their own form of homemade comfort — peanut-butter and jelly sandwiches stuffed into little plastic bags alongside hand-scribbled notes of appreciation.
Americans who live far from the tragedies of the East Coast also answered their country's call. Rescue workers from as far away as Los Angeles traveled to New York and worked shoulder-to-shoulder with colleagues from an injured city. Rank-and-file folk also responded, waving millions of American flags from their front porches, flag poles and car antennas. Thousands have rolled-up their sleeves and offered a vein to answer the ongoing petition for blood. And children have dedicated poems and Crayola masterpieces to victims and their families — uniting symbols of remembrance and patriotic grit.
We have watched elected officials and folks from partisan backgrounds set aside differences and unite for the common good. Dozens of nations outside the United States have condemned the attacks while offering sympathy and support. Their citizens have mourned — knowing hatred is no respecter of ethnicity, race, nationality or religion.
Many, of course, have enlisted the Comforter's comfort — gathering at chapels, cathedrals, synagogues and mosques for spiritual sustenance.
Centuries ago, the prophet Lehi taught his son, Jacob, "there is an opposition in all things." (2 Nephi 2: 11.) With wickedness comes righteousness. With misery there is holiness. Today, Lehi speaks to us. We know evil. Now be counted among the good.
On the day of the attack, President Gordon B. Hinckley reminded a wounded world that Christ is "shining through the heavy overcast of fear and anger." Find peace in President Hinckley's words and remember the Savior's comforting promise: "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28.)
The coming weeks, months or even years may offer many heavy-laden moments. No one need bear them alone.