BEACONS OF LIGHT, SIDE BY SIDE
By Afshan Jilani
September 11, 2011

This poem was read by Afshan Jilani at the 9-11 Service. We have had so many requests for it, we are reprinting it here with her permission.

Yes, I saw those towers side by side, even have a photo next to them, back then, never knew what the future held
Held those cherished memories of Lady Liberty, climbed all the stairs, way up, with my children; excited and breathless
But now, I don't take even one breath for granted; never miss a chance to reflect; to give Justice an imbalanced scale and watch it correct itself
Never sit on the sidelines, always speak up. Never knowing what could have been, reach out, touch, children, families, generations
Shattered in a moment of madness, never knew the price we would pay, the price of anger, the price of war, the price of revenge, the price of precious life
But now, I see the Beacons of Light, side by side, banishing despair, bringing harmony- and light into darkness
And so I want to stand, side by side, next to you, leave my own nightmare behind, honor this, our land
Won't you too, shed your fears and come take the first step, come with me into light?

Hand in hand, step in step, mend our broken hearts, and wipe our falling tears,
Shoulder to shoulder, our faith renewed, our trust strong, and our doubts no more
Where deceit and terror don't exist, neighbors don't spy on neighbors and the constitution still defends our freedoms and our religions
Where we defend justice, not injustice, and love conquers anger, where peace defeats war and like water for thirst- we quench this pain, together
Wont' you take my hand? 'Cause in the end, I am you, you are me, beacons of light, side by side
When I am gone, take my child as your child- because I trust you – our destinies the same
Your son stood up for me, so won't you let my daughter heal your pain?
My grandson will fight for this, our country, just as yours will, for I am you and you are me
My legacy: just a voice of reason, a word of comfort, an ounce of compassion
And if, in God we both trust, then won't you, remember me only as friend and never as foe
Because I am you and you are me, Beacons of Light, side by side.
Thank you.