I am writing this on September 11th and yes I know you are reading this on Sept 12th. This however is not old news, this is about who we are and what defines us. Every year September 11th rolls around and the band aid is ripped off the old wound. New stories arise, the tears flow that you thought had all but dried up. The stories are always about people who made a difference and who inspired on that fateful day eleven years ago.

Each year we mourn for those we lost and yet forget to acknowledge those who were left behind and what they created from their loss. Each week I write about that common thread of tragedy occurring and the defining moment that follows. What do you do? Do you turn to anger, lawsuits and propel the hurt? Or do you use that moment to create a lasting legacy of goodness?

There are so many inspiring non-profits that were created in that horrible aftermath and sadly more than you have time to read but one in particular that amazed me is Beyond the 11th.Org

It’s the story of two widows, Patti Quigley and Susan Retik, who met because they both lost their husbands on United Flight 175 and American Flight 11.  Susan and Patti were both pregnant.

Besides being overwhelmed with grief and shock, they were also overwhelmed with people’s generosity. Susan believed that the generosity she had received brought with it a responsibility and wanted to use her voice to make a difference. She and Patti decided in 2003 that they wanted to help the “enemy” the Afghan widows that were also victims in all this. They believed that if they could change the life of just one Afghan widow then they would encourage a dialog and friendship that could somehow guide them through understanding their own loss. 


I think the quote on their website from Patti’s brother Jim best sums it up, ” When given a choice between violence and love — they chose love. When given a choice between retribution and restoration of harmony — they chose restoring harmony. When given a choice between death and life — they’ve chosen life. That’s just who they are. It’s who they’ve come to be. It’s who they’ve chosen to be. And because of that, their children are learning to choose life as well.”

So today is Sept 12th. We try to forget until next year rolls around and we then post on our Facebook pages once again “We will never forget.”  Lets not forget the Pattis and Susans, lets honor these amazing people who take their sorrow and create lasting goodness. If today was the last day of your life how would you be defined? What is your legacy?

Charity Matters.

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