As I see patriotic posts, lots of red, white, and blue, this morning, I reflect on the events 14 years ago and remember the pain and fear we all endured at the wanton loss of life in New York City. I then recall the many lives lost during the quagmire of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, and I attempted to research how many have died, but have had difficulty finding consistent estimates.

Violence begets only more violence. How many lives, families, and communities have been decimated by humanity’s lack of empathy and understanding? It is difficult to document, but most sources say at least 250,000. I think about my family, friends, my sangha, my coworkers and how many they number. My world is probably not more than 300 people: just a drop in that bucket of that quarter million. I am overwhelmed by the social injustice surrounding me.Looking back on 9/11 I mourn the loss of all life, not just Americans, that happened that day and thereafter, because anger won.

These acts of violence carry an important lesson: we must let go of our anger and fear. Vengeance only leads to more suffering.