When I think about “inspiring leaders,” there are many examples that come to mind; historical greats, leaders of companies, military leaders, people that have changed the world. But on this day 13 years ago a group of people inspired us with their leadership and heroics, many of whose names we’ll never know. Most of them did not wake up that morning thinking they would be a hero or leader in any way. They were the people who helped take down a plane over Pennsylvania. They were the firefighters and police that ran into burning towers to save others – all of whom were strangers to them. They were people that choose to stay so that others could escape. They were people that lent a hand to help a stranger on the street who was hurt, confused and covered with ash. They were people that gave water, shelter, medical attention, or even just a simple heartfelt hug. From small acts of kindness to the ultimate sacrafice of their lives, these people stepped up to lead where others might not have.
In the days after the terror of 9/11 people all over our country stepped up to help. We raised money, donated supplies, and gave food and water. We were all more likely to say a kind word to those we passed on the street. We went out of our way to help others and tried to be more understanding of differences. I believe so much of that was due to us being inspired by the leaders on 9/11. To me, it felt like in some small way I was helping too.
Most of us are not called on to give up our lives to be a leader. We can show that others matter and help make a difference for a much lower cost. So I challenge us all to honor those that did give their lives by continuing to remember them, respect them, be thankful for their sacrifice but to also try every day to do something to inspire someone else and show our thanks.