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9-11 and the gift of Defiant Strength

9-16-2001.
Less than a week after the Twin Towers fell.
The flowers were starting to wilt.
The Missing signs were beginning to fade.
The dust that lingered over the city was like the grief in the hearts of the people.
Some had given up hope.  Grief was working its way into the cracks of the pavement.

I took this picture that day.

Movement.  People living their lives as best as they were able.
The flags hung on the storefronts.
The screens flashed ads for products that no one was buying.
A man covered his face to hide from the photograph.
The businessmen and women winding up the American machine.

And then there's the woman in the forefront.
I have thought a lot about her.
She has the Right to Walk sign but a van has turned, disregarding the pedestrians, and is in the middle of the crosswalk.
Look at her body language.
Assertiveness.  Defiance.  Determination.

This is 9-11.
Most of us experience some kind of 9-11 event in our lives at one point or another.
An event so intense that it leaves a scar on the psyche.
It's that which does not kill us, even if left for dead.
It's a moment frozen in time.

We remember the place, the faces around us, the clothes we were wearing.
It's the phone call we weren't expecting.
The officers at the door.
The news anchors weeping on the screen.

In the documentary Paper Tigers, one of the teachers comments on the youth that have experienced deep trauma in their young lives.  He praises them saying, "they have a little 'f you' in them."
Defiant strength.

It's a spirit that refuses to be crushed among the rubble of grief.  A spirit that refuses to stop in the crosswalk of injustice.
It pushes through.  It knows its rights.  It knows its worth.

You're worth it.  Lift your head, stand straight, and dare the world to break you.
Dare them to stop you.
Dare them to run you down.

until soon,
b.








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