Never Forget

September 10, 2021

By Terez Hanhan

Pledge to Take Action

As the 20th anniversary of 9/11 draws closer, I find my senses are more heightened — I look for the blue sky, I listen to the silence, and I take deep breaths. The words are often hard to find, though. I lived and worked in New York on September 11, 2001. When the South Tower was hit, I was in the subway nearby. My entire definition of reality changed that Tuesday morning, along with an infinite number of others around the world. Processing what I saw, what I heard, and what I felt on 9/11 and beyond remains a daily exercise.

Our three sons, who are in middle school and high school, ask me and my husband Alex about 9/11 from time to time. Here at Born This Way Foundation, we believe in the power of sharing transformative stories with one another, and an organization called StoryCorps does, too. Its mission is to preserve and share humanity’s stories in order to build connections between people and create a more just and compassionate world. Since 2003, StoryCorps has recorded over half a million people, archiving the interviews in the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. It is one of the largest digital collections of human voices.

Alex and I participated in a StoryCorps recording nearly 15 years ago, where we interviewed each other about our marriage (which combines cultures and religions), and we touched upon our collective experiences during 9/11. I remember leaving the StoryCorps sound booth in Grand Central Station, and while I felt vulnerable and a bit nervous about who would hear the recording, I was relieved to have documented a small piece of history for our little family.

I would love to invite you to share ways in which kindness, bravery, and resilience have changed the trajectory of your life.

My definitions of happiness and success, and my unending desire to share kindness in the world were shaped on 9/11. Whether you tell your story on Born This Way Foundation’s platform, Channel Kindness, or interview a loved one through StoryCorps or elsewhere, you are sharing kindness. And we are so glad you are here on this 10th day of #BeKind21.

Pledge to Take Action