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Coping with the Trauma of 9/11

On the anniversary of 9/11, you may see images or video of the Word Trade Center towers being hit by planes or crashing to the ground in New York City. Viewing the traumatic images of that day, it is not unusual for people to feel a wide range of emotions, including great sadness, fear, and overwhelm at the loss of life and destruction that occurred. This can happen even if you were not there when it happened, and didn’t know anyone personally who was involved. We all survived this tragedy vicariously in this nation, and we all had to process through the trauma of it.
Today, it may feel like the events of 9/11 are far away now. Or it may feel to you like it just happened yesterday. Thinking about 9/11 may make it harder for you to process the events going on in your community, our country, or our world that feel like war, violence, and terrorism just continue year after year without much change.
It is important to do 2 things. 1: realize that in the last 11 years, our country has not experienced a terrorist event. If you had children younger than 3 at the time 9/11 happened, they likely have no actual memories of their own about it, and they have not had to experience anything like it in their lifetime. That is something to be very grateful for. 2 : Focus on what you can do to help bring about peace at whatever level you feel capable. That may be within your family, your workplace, your city, your church or synagogue, or within another agency. When we work to effect change within our own personal “sphere of influence,” we feel more empowered and less helpless…even against something as big as international terrorism.
“Even the smallest act of service, the simplest act of kindness, is a way to honor those we lost…” ~Barack Obama

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