I was in Nice, France the night of the terrorist attack.
Without a care in the world, we laughed and took videos from the rooftop of a French chateau this Bastille Day. As the fireworks ended, our merriment came to a sudden halt. A text came through alerting us to an attack on Nice, just ten minutes away from where we were celebrating. Heart sinking, we reached out to friends who planned on watching fireworks in Nice that night, and there on the rooftop we prayed.
In a day and age where terrorist attacks have become so frequent that the general public has become numb to news of another, two dangers arise: as a culture we can become callous to the evil present in our world today and move on with life as if nothing happened, or we can become so afraid of impending danger that we refuse to leave the small corner of the world that we believe to be safe.
As I flew back to the states, I watched my friends attend memorials and mourn with a country that had just lost so many innocent souls at the hand of violence and hatred. It made my heart break and ache to be there with them, and it made me realize that as a society we have a duty to honor those we have lost, and make things better somehow.
Easy as it may be to block out what is going on around us and go on living seemingly safe and secure lives, I believe it is important to feel the gravity of this problem that has been diseasing our world so that something may be done about it. Can we, as Mahatma Gandhi once said, “be the change that (we) wish to see in the world?” Can we think of ways that we ourselves can be more peaceful, kind, and loving? Can we start with those we are closest to and branch out to acquaintances, and even strangers? Can our choices to hold our tongue when we’re angry, give a sincere compliment, or take time to help someone really help peace prevail in a world where the media shows us that evil seems to be winning? We can’t know for sure, but I believe it is the only place to start.