As the tenth anniversary of 9/11 approaches, many of us are wondering how best to honor the many victims of that tragedy and its aftermath.
I found my own answer when a friend asked me to join him and a few others on a walk with some Muslim and Jewish families he invited through their congregations. It turns out that our walk is one of many 9/11 Walks being organized by local communities all over the USA and around the world. The goal of these walks is simple: to help people honor all the victims of 9/11 by walking and talking kindly with neighbors and strangers, in celebration of our common humanity and in defiance of fear, misunderstanding and hatred.
Think about it: Wouldn't it be great if 9/11 became a day for Christians, Muslims, Jewish people, and everyone else to step over boundaries and walk kindly with 'the other', the way Martin Luther King Day has become a day for community service?
It turns out that the original idea was to organize one big cross-boundary walk in New York City, but officials there encouraged smaller walks instead. Now the idea is for lots of people -- people like you and me -- to organize 9/11 Walks in their own neighborhoods. So then, handfuls of members from churches, mosques, synagogues, community groups, and families around the world are inviting each other to meet up on that afternoon.
On the 9/11 walks website you can easily find a walk or learn how to organize one of your own. All it takes is a few minutes, a few phone calls, and a little bit of hope and courage.
As we remember the tragedy of 9/11, most us us also remember the wonderful ways neighbors and strangers reached out and connected with one another. I'm looking forward to rekindling some of that hospitality and kindness on our walk, and I invite you to do the same.