Things to remember, things to forget…
So, it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be. Of course, a lot of my perception most likely has to do with my being out in the middle of the Delta all weekend with a pile of my closest friends and their families instead of sitting around the house.
What, pray tell, am I talking about? The whole 9/11 10th anniversary thing.
See, don’t like the level of attention being paid to the annual remembrance of this event. My philosophy can be summed up pretty simply – America doesn’t make a big deal about the times we got our ass handed to us. It’s not a part of our national culture or identity. Do we remember? We most certainly do. We remember the bombing of Pearl Harbor. We remember the first battle of Bull Run. We remember the Battle of the Bulge. We remember the Tet Offensive. We remember them quietly and solemnly.
Now some folks will say that 9/11 was different. And they would be right. The difference from all of the above I’ve mentioned is that 9/11 wasn’t a battle or a military attack on the US military by the organized and legal military of another sovereign nation. It was an act of organized mass murder, perpetrated by sociopath mobsters masquerading as religious crusaders. By filling our newspapers, TV news programs, radio and internet traffic with detailed recollections of this event we’re raising what was really just the act of organized criminals to the level of the military tragedies I mention above. It doesn’t make sense, and it’s not consistent with our national character.
The US of A is the ultimate winner. Whether that’s completely true or not is irrelevant. That’s who we are. Yes, it’s moronic and irritating that whenever the Olympics are held the world is guaranteed to see hundreds of thousands of Yanks standing on their feet chanting “U-S-A, U-S-A!” whenever someone with the good fortune to be born here does something pretty well. However, that is who we are, and I’m more than a little bit frightened of what I think are some of the symptoms of the dwindling of the confidence that goes along with that attitude. I think the fear that permeates American society today is leading us to underestimate ourselves. Because we underestimate what we can do, we have become prone to expect failure. That expectation of failure is feeding fear that things we really need to do are things we really are just not capable of.
Personally, I’d like to see us leave the remembrance of 9/11 to the people of New York, the District of Columbia and the families of the folks who went down with flight 93 in Pennsylvania. And I’m certainly on the side of those who thought the notion that there wasn’t enough room for the police and fire fighters to attend the 9/11 memorial at the WTC site was utterly ridiculous. In my mind, there was no room for anyone else there.
I hope that more people come around to my notion of how to remember. I certainly hope that the trend of commercializing this horrible event creates as much revulsion as Keith Olbermann felt at the way Major League Baseball commercialized and controlled Baseball’s remembrance of 9/11. I like Olbermann best when he sticks to baseball matters. I love the way he writes and the way he respects the power of words, but most of the time I find his political rants to be ham-handed. This rant against what MLB did to the Mets this past weekend was, in my opinion, dead on. But then again, I’m reasonably certain that if there’s a hell, Bud Selig will get to chat through eternity with Bin Laden.