By Jonathan George
This past week I celebrated my birthday in New York City. While there, I visited great landmarks such as the Empire State Building, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Times Square, and of course, the 911 Memorial.
At the new and rebuilt site of the towers that were destroyed on 9/11, I happened upon a stunning and powerful landmark with a special message to humanity. This amazing monument survived, it seems, as a beacon of hope.
The large globe-like 25-foot bronze sculpture was originally displayed between the iconic Twin Towers. It is called the Koenig Sphere, designed, and created by sculptor Fritz Koenig to symbolize world peace through world trade. This indestructible masterpiece was recovered from the rubble at Ground Zero. Although quite roughed up, it is still intact and is now a symbol of resilience.
Anyone more than ten years old at the time remembers what happened on 9/11/2001. It was a devastating Tuesday morning for America when two commercial airliners flew into the towers destroying both. They crumbled to the ground in a cloud of dust that was captured on television for the whole world to see. That was the day when 19 Al-Qaeda terrorists attacked our land hijacking four passenger planes with the intent of destroying America’s prominent buildings: the Twin Towers, the finance capital of the world; the Pentagon, symbol of the United States Military, and possibly the White House itself.
The attackers succeeded in bringing down the Twin Towers, damaging the Pentagon, and causing mass casualties. 2,977 lives were lost plus 340 firefighters and 97 law enforcement officers died while trying to save them. An additional 25,000 people were injured. The financial cost was over $10 billion. Our nation was broken and in pain. The damage was astronomical, and we felt lost.
The terrorist cowards did not, however, count on one thing. RESILIENCY. America survived. We bonded together and united in our grief knowing that we would prevail and come back stronger.
As founder and CEO of ROCK MY CAMPUS, a Social-Emotional Learning platform helping schools deal with depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, mental health issues as well as teacher burnout, I understand the importance of teaching our kids RESILIENCY and it has a special meaning for me. Indeed, it is one of the cornerstones of my R.O.C.K.S.T.A.R. approach to SEL. Resiliency ensures that no matter what happens to us, no matter the hardship, trauma, and losses, we know that we can survive and will come back stronger.
It was a beautiful and impactful experience to see that sphere standing defiantly strong with its battle scars proudly displayed. It is a reminder of human survival and perseverance. We lived, we healed, and we rebuilt. We showed the world that no terrorist attacks and intimidation can ever destroy us. We came back stronger and learned how powerful we really are.
In memory of those lost on September 11, 2001. Your life mattered. You gave us strength and taught our nation to not ever give up on the future.