Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Facing Reality

6 years ago, our country experienced the worst terrorist attack to date on U.S. soil. As a result, 2,974 people died that day and a shockwave was sent through our country. That shockwave continued to travel to the rest of the world, eventually leading to our "involvement" in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Through all the events that happened: people bonded together, conflicts erupted, loved ones were lost... and heroes were born.

Let us remember all the lives that were lost on that day, mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, grandparents and children....

Let us honor all the firefighters, the policemen, the medical personnel, rescue workers and everyone who risked their own lives on that day, all for the well being of others.

But wait...

Somehow in the midst of trying to comprehend the profound impact 9/11 had on our country, I began think about the number of lives that were lost... how 2,974 is almost the 3,500 students in my high school... how a single act of terrorism rocked our world... why it was so easy for us to rally together as a nation... why it was so easy for our nation to react...

Then something drove me to seek out this bit of information that gave me a wake-up call:

According to the ADA: "diabetes contributed to 224,092 deaths in 2002."

Doing the math... that's over 75 times more than 9/11. Now don't take this the wrong way. I'm not trying to offend anyone here or be unpatriotic, but there's just something about all of this that continues to draw me in for a closer look into what I can't see.

It is undoubtedly easier for us to recognize the tremendous loss of life when we have a tangible enemy to blame for a tragedy. But when we face a faceless foe, like diabetes, it becomes tremendously more difficult to realize the gravity and impact it has on our society, especially those of us who don't have to live with it day by day.

I am not trying to steal focus away on what happened six years ago, but I've just come to the realization that downplaying the reality of the daily unseen losses is not going to bring about any justice.

If diabetes were a man, there would be an international manhunt for him right now. But the reality is that this enemy is hardly known, and known only to those who's lives it has already tried to terrorize.

Yet, in the face of such antagonism, heroes are born. Heroes like...

...the diabetes educators and the AADE, raising awareness and teaching people how to live with diabetes

...the many researchers working towards a better monitoring, treatment and, ultimately, a cure

...the children who's lives will forever be different, but who's courage to persevere bring hope to us all

...their parents, sacrificing everything so that their kids can enjoy life they deserve

...the individuals, who choose to live full lives with a reality that still remains unaware to the rest of the world

...and their friends & families, supporting them when they needed them most

It is unsung heroes like them that also make our nation an incredible nation. All of them fighting together to rid the world of oppression from what we can only comprehend as diabetes.

1 comment:

Vivian said...

Albert, This was a beautiful post. Thank you for writing it.