As all of my American friends know, today is September 11. I got to commemorate the anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks in a pretty unique way that I'd like to take a minute to share with you.
Over the past few days, I've made friends from Afghanistan, Iraq, and every corner of Europe, so an outburst of American nationalism hardly seemed appropriate. Instead, my co-year Andy took the initiative and had everyone meet around 9:30 pm at “the Circle,” a sort of stone amphitheater where we like to hang out. Andy spoke about his memories of what happened on that day in 2001, about how we mourned the loss of businesspeople, firefighters, family, and friends, and about how our young minds began to ask questions about hatred, patriotism, and our own safety. He also focused on how much hope it's brought him to come here to a UWC where we can love without borders...if only our countries could do the same! After that, we joined hands and I said a prayer that the families still hurting from that day would be able to go on, that the civilians suffering from war in Afghanistan and Iraq would see peace and an end to the destruction SOON, that politicians from every country would forget their plots and plans and remember their humanity and the people they represent, and that we as students would have hearts of compassion and be willing to do whatever it takes to have peace among ourselves and among our countries. Then, we took a moment to reflect on the tragedies our various countries have suffered while Andy reloaded the batteries in his flashlight. :) He played a revised version of “Sing” by the Dresden Dolls on his guitar. One of the lines of the song is, “There is thing keeping everyone's lungs and lips locked. It is called fear and it's seeing a great renaissance.” But tonight, there was no fear, just hope, hugs and kisses, and maybe a few tears. I have to be honest...in the past few days there have been times I've wanted to give up on this whole UWC thing and head home. It may never be easy, but the unity I had a taste of tonight is worth great sacrifices! It gives me courage to dream about how far we can go with some determination and humility. And I can't think of a better way to pay tribute.