posted September 11, 2003

Hope Remembers 9-11

Hope College Community Members:

As you are all aware, Thursday marks the second anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. While the date is not considered a national holiday, I think it would be a disgrace to allow it to slip by unnoticed. Recently, much debate has been sparked concerning the proper way to commemorate such a tragedy. One of the most widely praised ideas came from a survivor of the attack on the World Trade Center. In an interview, he acknowledged being struck by the attitude of helpfulness that was displayed by those in and around ground zero. Complete strangers continually helped each other and many lives were saved as a result.

Here at Hope College, we have a unique opportunity to replicate the actions of those in New York on that day. I think it is fitting that we commemorate the events of September 11 with a day dedicated to helping each other. Although similar to a day of service, the spontaneous nature of helping others will make this day unique. The idea is to be helpful toward people whom you might otherwise not notice. For example, instead of eating dinner with your friends, seek out someone who's eating alone and join him or her. On your way to class, make a conscious effort to be friendly to those you pass and acknowledge someone you might typically ignore. Imagine the impact if this attitude and outlook were to be adopted by everyone on campus. Unnecessary, kind actions are contagious and often promote similar behavior from those affected by them.

While no one will receive notoriety or accolades for their actions tomorrow, I can assure you that many students and faculty members will have their daysbrightened by those that choose to participate. The impact one small act of kindness can have on my day never ceases to amaze me, and I'm sure that others of you feel the same way.

So, I challenge you and myself to spend tomorrow in remembrance. Remember those whose lives were taken in a tragic act of terrorism and remember those who gave their lives protecting the rest of us from similar fates. Remember the example of the survivors and the effect their attitude of helpfulness had on New York City and the rest of the world. Finally, however you choose to conduct yourself tomorrow, I encourage you to utter a prayer of thankfulness for the wonderful country God has blessed each of us with, and for those who have given their lives or had their lives taken from them as a result of other's jealously and hatred of the freedoms we enjoy. I hope that each one of you is somehow touched by the actions of another, tomorrow.

Best Wishes,
Jeremy Brieve
Student Congress President