For Americans, the anniversary of 9/11 brings forth different emotions. We think back on that day, recalling the trauma of that attack on our nation, reliving those feelings of helplessness, anxiety and fear.
For most of us, we continue on with our lives the day after the anniversary of 9/11. But life is different for those who actually lost a loved one on that day. Their lives were permanently altered, a part of them passing away as well. It pains us to even imagine it — thinking of someone we love and who loved us, caught in that moment, being unable to see or hear them, to touch them and be with them.
For the rest of America, our world continues after September 11. But for those family members, part of their world always remains connected to that day. We’ll go on with our lives, some of us taking much of it for granted — our loved ones, our nation, even our freedoms. But those families know differently. They have experienced the fleetingness of life.
In such an emotionally challenging time, it is difficult to keep one’s faith. How can we, when faced with such unspeakable tragedy? How can we look skyward, face the Heavens and stand before God, when so much life, so much potential was cut down and taken away from us? It is so difficult to keep our faith at such a time, when faced with personal loss. We question it, our emotional pain severe enough to physically wrack our minds and bodies.
And yet, we must cling to our faith as if it were the lone ray of light that breaks through the murkiest of clouds. It says in the Bible in Matthew 21:22, “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” For these families and our nation, whatever one’s faith tradition may be, keeping faith during this remembrance can sustain us, giving us the daily strength we need to continue living.
It is a simple yet complex act to have faith. All we have to do is believe, and our prayers will be answered. But that act of believing, in times of loss, can challenge us. It can make us turn away from our faith. But when we do so, we turn ourselves into nothingness that can consume us, making it even more difficult to continue.
It is during this 10-year anniversary remembrance that we as a nation show due respect to those lost and their families and honor the sacrifice and courage shown by so many of our countrymen on that day.
We can spend a lifetime trying to understand “why” but never find the answer. All we have is our faith. While most of America will move on tomorrow, the lives of those family members will continue to be inextricably linked to 9/11. All we have is our faith.
But that’s all we need. Our collective faith, knowing that as we join together to pray for loved ones lost, we can find peaceful, calming acceptance that our prayers will indeed be heard and answered. Today, and every day, all we need is our faith.
Dino Teppara is the chairman of the Indian American Conservative Council.