Before I even really knew her, I knew her name was Brooklyn. She was the personification of the city itself: strong and unassuming, family-centered and faithful. She told me her story, and I wrote it to the best of my ability – often above my knowledge. I kept it close to my heart until I felt permission to release it.
It wasn’t until after the release that a reader pointed out that Brooklyn’s name had a special meaning – one beyond the reason I’d assumed I’d chosen it.
The name ‘Brooklyn’ means “from the land of the broken.”
I heard this and wept because I remembered how broken we all were that day:
- Seeing steel beams fall as if they were made of sand.
- Seeing a desperate level of humanity I’d never witnessed before.
- Attacked. Then again. Then again. Again.
- Who is doing this? What else will they do? Why are they hurting us?
- Oh, God. They’re jumping now. The towers. The wreckage. Jesus, come. Jesus, we need you.
We say, “never forget,” but most of us do. We avoid uncomfortable pictures of the tragedy and barely bat an eye when we hear tales of heroes and survivors dying of an invisible enemy five, ten, and twenty years later.
We are so busy being broken as a nation that we don’t see how broken that day made us.
And it may be too late for us. We may be too set in our ideologies and defensive stances.
But it’s not too late for the ones born after the tragedy.
They may come from the brokenness of 9/11, but they will refuse to stay there. Adults in this country have failed them. We have drawn our ideological lines down the country’s middle and taken sides. We have glared at each other from the corners of our self-made boxing ring and have thrown punches over every big issue known to man, all the while avoiding the real enemy, who is in the crowd and shouting at us to swing again.
But you, young ones, will do better.
You may have come from the land of the broken, but you won’t stay there. Like Brooklyn, you are called to a higher purpose with your gifts.
And by using them, you will genuinely #neverforget.