Did you know that two Thai nationals were among those killed during the terrorist attacks of 9/11? Neither did I.
I learned that during a conversation with Hong Pirojh Chew, a native of that country. It was last year, and I was part of a Christian mission team in Thailand. Hong and I got to talking during a stop at a roadside market near the northern city of Chiang Mai. I don't know how our talk got around to 9/11, but it did ... and I learned that 9/11 is not just a moment for us, but for the world.
That point was reinforced a few days later, during a visit to the United States Embassy in Bangkok, and a briefing from Ambassador Eric John and the heads of U.S. economic and law enforcement agencies active in that part of the world. As we got out of the elevator and headed to the briefing room, a framed document on the wall caught my attention. It was a letter, hand-written in Thai, bearing a number of signatures, and hand-illustrated in pen-and-ink with a picture of a Thai village.
The letter, I was told by an embassy staffer, was drafted by the residents of a Thai village to offer their condolences to the people of the United States, and delivered to the embassy.
When you look at the world situation as it is at the moment, it's easy to forget that in the days of shock and uncertainty that followed 9/11, the world was united on at least one point ... that a terrible crime had been committed, that the victims and their loved-ones must be comforted, and the guilty parties must be punished. It is good to remember that peoples and the nations of the world - regardless of our differences on other matters - were one when it came to 9/11.
It was a moment for the world.