Today marks the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Ten years is a long time in the Girl Scout Movement; many of our current members had not been born when 9/11 happened, and many others were too young to have retained any solid memory of the event. It seems appropriate, on this anniversary, to take a moment to consider these millions of girls and ask ourselves what is important for them to know about this event they cannot remember.
We teach our girls that they matter, that each of them has a place in the world that is hers alone. Through Girl Scouting, they learn what it means to make the world a better place through their actions. It would be good for girls to know about the sheer goodness and bravery this horrific event brought out in everyday people. Within minutes of the fall of the World Trade Center, for example, a swarm of tugboats and ferries and pleasure craft converged on the tip of Manhattan Island to rescue people from the site and carry them to safety. It was the largest peacetime waterborne evacuation in American history.
No one told the masters of those boats to do that. No one told passersby on the street to drop what they were doing and rush to try to help, and no one had to tell the police and the fire fighters on the scene to do their duty. They did it, all of them, because they saw what needed to be done and took action.
Our thoughts today are with all of you, with our nation, and in reverence for those who passed away as a result of 9/11. Our thoughts, as well, are with those continuing to support those affected by 9/11, those defending our democracy, those who keep the light and the memory of the fallen alive—and those everyday people who opened their homes and their hearts and risked life and limb, whose names we may never know.
This is courage, confidence, and character. May we and our girls remember that even at the worst of times, it is possible—and very important—to make the world a better place.
Kathy Cloninger, National CEO, Girl Scouts of the USA