US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Telling everyone's 9/11 stories

Bryan Cones | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

As I listened to NPR's report on the StoryCorps project to collect oral histories about every 9/11 victim, I was struck by the beauty and simplictiy of the stories that were told. But I also wondered: Are we telling everyone's stories?

StoryCorps' partnership with the National September 11 Memorial and Museum is focusing on the U.S. victims of the tragedy, those who died in the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and in Pennsylvania. But what about the victims of 9/11's aftereffects, innocent people in Iraq and Afghanistan, all with stories of their own, tens of thousands of victims whose names we will never know? It would be impossible to collect all their stories, but they also deserve to be told. Through friends at the Iraqi Student Project, I've met many Iraqi young people with their own tales of grief, death, and displacement whose lives will never be the same.

That shouldn't take anything away from our grief for the American victims of 9/11, but coming to see the larger picture of the world's grief might help us grow in the kind of solidarity that would prevent the disastrous mistakes we as a nation have made since 9/11, mistakes that have diminished morally and in the eyes of the world.

Related: U.S, Catholic special section on September 11