A Tribute to 911
and the Brotherhood of Man

September 11, 2002

We just had a 9/11 memorial service at the college where I work. Looking at all the young faces, the hope and possibility that lies innate in them. The beauty, the promise, the potential. I look at each of these kids and I see my own.

Several speakers and 5 student choral group made a very touching tribute... I think it was a very emotional, very moving service. I feel better now tho...I'd been kind of down about the whole thing all this morning, I think because of the helpless feeling that comes in the face of last year's tragedy and the uncertainty of today. That sense of feeling like "I'm just one person puttering around in my little corner of the world...what can I do?"

Then I thought about last year's "Pay It Forward" movie...did you ever see it? What a concept...what enormous possibility lies in that concept. It's about doing good anonymously for others and at the same time, suggesting that they "pay it forward". If you haven't seen it, put it on your list...and while you're at it...get some kleenex...it's killer.

Anyway...I like the concept, and maybe it's the answer to that helplessness I feel and I imagine many of you feel also. The only way to vanquish evil is with good, the only way to dispel darkness is with light. Once again and always, love is the answer.

So I'm on a mission, and I'm making a promise. I'm asking you to join me. To make a specific difference, however small, each day. To plant the seeds of paying it forward as we go.

Let's each light a candle of love every day to dispel the darkness that threatens the brotherhood of man. Lets reach out in love in any way possible. Do something specific just for that purpose each day.

Put a quarter in an expired meter. Pay the toll for the guy behind you, and mention "pay it forward". Visit a homebound elderly person. Give of your time, talents and/or treasure. Send a gift, make a connection. Find a young person who needs someone to make a difference in their life and be the one to make that difference. Reach out in love some way, any way. Create a ripple effect with one simple act...because each time you give, tho the gift may be brief, the remembrance of the kindness lives on in memory, meaning and inspiration.

Imagine the darkest night ever...one where you can't so much as see your hand in front of your face. Then strike a match...light one candle. What unbelievable power that one simple candle has against the darkest night.

Let's share our light, and in our own way shed that frustrating sense of helplessness and claim our power to fight back against the darkness. I see some of you are feeling the same and reaching out to dispel the darkness already. How powerful and how wonderful a groundswell it could be to stand opposite a terrible act of barbarism...with simple acts of love.

Our tribute to the tragedy of 9/11/2001....our tribute to our extended family, The Brotherhood of Mankind.

Pay it forward with love....

God bless,

JoAnna Phillips, 9/11/2002

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