No one needs me to remind them that Sunday is the tenth anniversary of the September 11 attacks. For ten years now, I have pretty regularly had occasion to walk by that giant pit with many different people and it always struck me how often a companion would launch into his or her own September 11 story: where they were, how they heard, who they knew. It's so central to our nature to tell a story, and so soothing to hear one; it's like balm on a wound.
That's why I think one of the most wonderful projects out there is StoryCorps:
StoryCorps is an independent nonprofit whose mission is to provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share, and preserve the stories of our lives. Since 2003, StoryCorps has collected and archived more than 30,000 interviews from more than 60,000 participants. Each conversation is recorded on a free CD to share, and is preserved at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. StoryCorps is one of the largest oral history projects of its kind, and millions listen to our weekly broadcasts on NPR’s Morning Edition and on our Listen pages.
We do this to remind one another of our shared humanity, strengthen and build the connections between people, teach the value of listening, and weave into the fabric of our culture the understanding that every life matters. At the same time, we will create an invaluable archive of American voices and wisdom for future generations.
I've been listening to these stories for years, and they never fail to move me. NPR replayed this particularly poignant story this week: "Both of the boys would call me when they were working." The first time I heard it, it stopped me in my tracks. Please take a moment to listen. If you ever doubted the strength of a story, simply told, well, you never will again. And if you ever wanted to be inspired by another's courage, this will accomplish that as well.
I'm making a donation to StoryCorps today in honor of the people who were affected by 9/11 so that we will always remember their stories.