Sunday, September 11, 2011


Throughout the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, quotations from King's speeches and writings are displayed. One of my favorite King's quotations used in the memorial was:
Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.
At this moment, ten years ago, the first hijacked plane struck the World Trade Center. While there was nothing charitable about this act of terrorism, from that moment on, charity throughout New York, the country and world was activated. Of faith, hope and charity, charity is the action step. While you can't create faith and hope, by using your heart and soul as a source, we can create charity.

Charity is a form of light that can drive out the darkness of hatred, violence and intolerance. On that day, and the ten years that followed, people have been giving of themselves -- money, time, expertise, and wisdom -- to bring light to the lives of those directly impacted by this tragedy and help ensure that this moment will not repeat itself. Through compassion, empathy, generosity and sacrifice, global citizens have been counteracting terrorism. While there may have been lapses and steps backwards in this charitable progress since 9/11, we have made great gains in reframing this anniversary into one that now selflessly serves others.

Today is the September 11th National Day of Service and Remembrance and thousands of people around the nation will be volunteering and helping others in their communities as a tribute to the more than 3,000 people who perished on September 11, 2001. It is a fitting tribute, especially honoring of the more than 300 first responders who lost their lives while serving and protecting others. Their sacrifice motivated the creation of this service day in 2002 and it is a spirit we should carry through our day today and all the days of our lives.

As you listen to remembrances and stories about the victims of 9/11 today, you'll hear more about the good things they did or the reasons why people loved them. That is how it should be. We should all be remembered for the kind, thoughtful, generous acts and words we have shared in our lives. We must live a life worth remembering filled with compassion, love and charity for our fellow man.

It is unfortunate that the terrorists involved in these attacks chose to define their lives by this vicious, inhumane act. We must all chose differently. We must drive out hate and ignorance in the world with our own weapon of mass destruction -- love and knowledge. Through acts of charity, we can demonstrate the power of love and knowledge to overcome such obstacles and create a better world for ourselves and future generations yet to be. I chose to leave a legacy of charity with every word and action I make.

While I may not be wearing my faith, hope and charity charm necklace around my neck all the time, I chose to wear it on my soul each day. I've challenged myself -- and you -- to lean on faith, to multiply hope and live a life of charity. These are the keys to manifesting the world of Dr. King's dreams.

Now, let's go forth and build it together.

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