The Lessons of September 11

A special letter from Chairman Roslyn M. Brock and President & CEO  Benjamin Todd Jelaous

Ten years ago the lives of every American were forever changed.

The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 brought Americans face to face with unspeakable horror. Some of us lost family members, loved ones, colleagues and friends. All were affected to our core.

But something else significant happened that day. As the smoke cleared and the dust began to settle, our country came together in a remarkable way. The magnitude of what we faced allowed us to put our personal differences—race, class, culture and faith—into context and stand together for common values: Freedom. Justice. Love.

From the farmworker in California to the nurse in Maryland, from the minister in Georgia to the imam in Michigan, we joined together in unity and purpose, as Americans.

Ten years have passed since that fateful day. Life has largely returned to a new normal for our country and, mercifully, we have gone back to our daily lives. But we are different now, changed. Our September 11th experience allowed us to see and feel a higher unity, however briefly. This is the lesson we must never forget.
Since our founding, the core of the NAACP’s mission has been to bring this country together regardless of race, class, faith or ethnicity. For us, this time of unity was a revelation, a look into the Promised Land, a long sought confirmation that our higher calling is indeed achievable.

For more than 100 years, we have carried the mantle of civil and human rights across this country and throughout the world, and with your help we will continue to do so for generations to come.

There are lessons to be learned through tragedy, and as we commemorate the 10th anniversary of the attacks, as we grieve for what we’ve lost and honor our fallen heroes, let us bear in mind the higher ideals of what our country and people are meant to be. 

Peace and blessings to your families on this day of remembrance.

Roslyn M. Brock, Chairman
Benjamin Todd Jealous, President & CEO