When suicide bombers start gracing the covers of our national magazines and terrorist fashionistas wearing burkas are kicking off high-end fashion campaigns just for their “cool factor,” I guess I should not be surprised that September 11th is starting to become just another day in history for the American people.
The coverage of the Anniversary of the 9/11 attacks is starting to lose steam in the eyes of the public. Did it start with the New York Times not so subtly stripping the front page of any 9/11 coverage on last year’s anniversary? And then obnoxiously letting an editorial columnist explain to its loyal sheep in not so many words: it’s time to forget?
It certainly ended with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s “does it really matter?” attitude about last year’s 9/11 attacks on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi. And what about the already forgotten U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, colleague Sean Smith and ex-Navy Seals Ty Woods, and Glen Doherty?
A family member traces the name of a loved one lost on Sept. 11, 2001 when terrorists attacked the World Trade Center in New York. Photo Credit: Getty Images
It seems the White House believes that the death of Osama bin Laden will cover revenge and justice for all the victims killed on 9/11; past, present and future. Jihad against America and the western world stopped existing under President Obama, don’tcha know.
Even the National September 11 Memorial and Museum, in its latest public relations drive, has Hollywood’s New Yorker Robert De Niro politely directing us to remember - but just for one day. Literally. The slogan: “Take a day to remember the day that changed us forever.” The most horrifying attack in history on American soil and we should just sit back and take a day. All while the heart of ground zero has been reduced to a must-see destination for tourists, day after day milling around like worker bees trying to capture one iota of what a New York City resident felt that day.
Ok, I feel the anger brewing. But why shouldn’t I? Unlike the average American, my life changed drastically and did a 180 after 9/11 , the original and sometimes I just get pissed about it. I can only surmise that the reason why the public is slowly relegating the 9/11 attacks and the anniversary to the back burner of a 1950’s avocado green stove is because for most of them their lives haven’t changed at all. Why remember something that has no relevance to your daily life?
Obviously for all the 9/11 victims friends, co-workers, and families, the military and their families, government workers etc. life has turned 180 degrees. Whether it's living without your loved ones, temporary or permanent; or in a state of fear, worry, strategic emergency planning, or even without a limb, life as they knew it changed forever on September 11, 2001.
But for the average American, Starbucks was still on the corner September 12, 2001. The dry cleaning still needed to be picked up. American Idol was still on TV twice a week. The biggest office building in your city wasn’t missing. You didn’t attend memorial services for grooms in the same reception hall the couple was supposed to be married. You didn’t hold members of Mayor Rudy Giuliani's press office while they cried in your arms like a baby. You probably didn’t change careers, move away, or watch your spouse rejoin the military and then deploy within months.
You probably like most of the country felt sad, angry, frustrated and out of control. But it eventually faded because Starbucks is still on your corner and the dry cleaning still needs to be picked up. Maybe you still feel a twang of of panic when flying or hopping the train at rush hour, but for the most part, time has moved on and the wounds have healed.
And that’s OK. But what worries me is when wounds heal but don’t scar over.
Fast forward 25 years from now - I shudder to think of the 9/11 anniversary ceremony being reduced to a 30-second sound byte of the President laying a wreath, saluting the American flag, hearing a gun salute, and then bam, it’s over.
I shudder to think about heading to a local 9/11 memorial ceremony, scarcely attended and scattered with only aging veterans, firefighters, police and their families, most people only worried about hot dogs, hamburgers and a three day weekend.
I shudder to think about the 2,996 victims killed in the attacks; the hundreds of rescue workers now dead from 9/11 related illnesses; the military members who’ve made the ultimate sacrifice fighting for the values of American freedom - and how their names will slowly be forgotten.
Even when we are reminded over and over again, we need those scars to remind us of the past, help us protect our future, and to never forget.
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