This week we observed the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attack on our country. I recently officiated at the Pentagon’s weekly service for Episcopalians and their colleagues.

I visited the display and photographs memorializing that fateful day. It brought back to mind all the destruction: the jagged hole in the side of the Pentagon strewn with crushed mortar, dangling pipes, wire, and debris. It stunned me with the same alarm as the day it happened. I pass the Pentagon on my way to appointments every week. It’s still hard to believe if it weren’t for the memorial on the grounds where many continue to grieve.

People are forever changed by grief, and changed people change the way the world is, the kind of place it becomes. Getting on with life is not the same as getting over loss. Getting on with life can be driven by the anger, vengeance, and retaliation issued from old wounds. Getting over loss is a journey that offers certain wisdom along the way. It redraws the line of our moral compass as we head out for the future. Some of us decide to live for those we loved who died. Some of us are affected by the bravery of life and work to make a more significant impact. Others still implement tragedies’ greatest lessons: forgiveness, compassion, generosity, and justice. So by all means, with each succeeding anniversary of 9/11, grieve well.