The phone rang. I rolled to the side. The phone rang again.
I rubbed my eyes, barely awake, answered and heard the baritone voice of my managing editor Alex, the last voice I expected to hear. He shared unthinkable news: A passenger jet had careened into the World Trade Center, and we were putting out an Extra edition of the paper.
For the next 15 hours, as the horrible events of September 11, 2001, unfolded, I helped write the first headlines of history as front-page editor of The Seattle Times even as I tried to process a day like no other—one that would unify us all in terror and tragedy.
Twenty years later—could it really be 20 years since that awful day—I have a different assignment, spotlighting and helping tell
the stories of rural America in a cooperative landscape I love.
If there is a lesson from 9/11 all these years later, it is that we are all in this together and there is power in unity, especially in tough times.
At Ruralite, our team approaches stories with an eye toward building community, encouraging participation and helping one another. We seek to shine a light on things that make us better, or as Lincoln said, appeal to the better angels of our nature.
It is not by chance that throughout the past three years we have focused storytelling on the changing face of rural health care, everyday heroes who make a difference and preserving rural arts at a time of tremendous challenge.
As we salute the fallen and the heroes of 9/11 this month, here is a challenge for you and me in these divisive times: Let’s pay tribute to that awful day by performing an act of kindness to someone with whom we do not see eye-to-eye. It may bring the kind of healing that, as it did then, makes a difference now.