Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Message is Love

No, I'm not a day late on my September 11th anniversary blog post. This is a post-9/11 post. In 2001, my wife wrote the following poem shortly after 9/11. You may have already read it as it was distributed fairly widely on the Internet and read at some events and eerily echoed in the opening monologue to "Love Actually".

The Message is Love
by Emily Dietrich

© Copyright 2001 by Emily Dietrich
Redistribution permitted for non-commercial purposes
Contact for other uses

Unlike the Titanic and Oklahoma City, this tragedy contained a window, created by a coincidence of technology and a few moments of life before imminent death, that allowed some victims an opportunity. They could send a last minute message, put one more thought out into the world, and they could know it would be heard.

This is what they said.
"I just wanted you to know that I love you."

They said,
"I love you."

That’s what becomes urgent.
That’s what a person wants to say,
wants the world to know when death is certain.

"I love you."

No one called to say
"Get these bastards."

No one spent dying breath to say
"I want revenge."

The calls were made to say
"I love you."

And in 2001, a time when technology has brought cell phones, voices from the sky, we are able to hear their last words. With our own ears, we hear those who will die in seconds say their last words, a rare privilege.

They said,
"I love you."

The answer to hate is love.
The opposite of terrorism is charity.

Let’s cherish the great gift these victims of terrorism have given us.
Let’s honor the promise implicit in the privilege of hearing their final words.
Let’s fulfill the obligation to life that our dying brothers and sisters ask of us.
Let’s use our lives to say
"I love you."