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September 11th, 2006


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02:15 pm - "How will you celebrate this holiday?"
The Buffett Oracle today informed me:
52. Better break out your thinkin' cap and your old dunce cone.
This morning, when I woke up, the radio alarm was, of course, playing the morning DJ on the station I wake up to. As I drifted in and out of consciousness for a half hour, I caught the radio chatter about the fifth anniversary of September 11th, and found myself wondering:

"How will you celebrate this holiday?"

It seemed like a strange question to ask: how does one "celebrate" this holiday? How will it be celebrated in the future, when the "sting" has worn off, when terror is "defeated," as Bush has informed us it will be ("But the only way to defeat terrorism as a threat to our way of life is to stop it, eliminate it, and destroy it where it grows")? Make no mistake: it is a holiday. President Bush declared it such: today is Patriot Day.

I meant to ask, "How will you remember the events of five years ago?" But that is not the question I found truly interesting and deeply personal.

In a proclamation on September 4, 2003, President Bush said, "I call upon the people of the United States to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities." Rememberance services and candlelight vigils are indicated as "appropriate," as is flying the flag at half-staff (if you aren't flying a flag today, you're in violation, FYI).

But still, what will this holiday become? How will it be celebrated?

Will we one day celebrate September 11th with fireworks? John Adams predicted that July 2, the day the Resolution of Independence was voted on, would be forever remembered with fireworks. ("The Second Day of July 1776 will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. . . . It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires, and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.") He was mostly right: July 4th is.

But fireworks seem almost disrespectful: the explosions of September 11 were not explosions of freedom, but explosions of terror. If the proclamation of President Bush is any indication, we are to sit in our homes and remember the day somberly. Or, if we look at it from another angle, we are to cower within our homes, remembering the day fearfully.

But Bush also indicated that we were embarking on an age of liberty, that "this will not be an age of terror; this will be an age of liberty, here and across the world." September 11th, it seems, ushered in a new age of liberty and democracy. I will not force you to listen to my out-loud wondering about where that liberty and democracy are to be found with the Patriot Act in force.

But today, as I listened in my half-asleep stupor, I realized what September 11th really was: a media gimmick. I have been hearing about the "special rememberance" editions of radio morning shows, where clips from various news stories and commentators will be played, for almost a week. September 11th is a way to garner listeners, to sway them to your station and your morning show, and a time to say things that perhaps you can't get away with on other days.

This morning, I was told that I "had to be angry," that I had a right to hate. "We have to get him," I was told, informed that getting Osama would somehow make the world right, make it a happy-go-lucky pre-9/11 world.

The modifier "terrorist" (as regards Sept. 11) is now a casualty of this war. No longer is this the "worst terrorist attack on US soil." It is now the "worst attack on US soil." There is no longer need to justify that, though: the comparisons to Pearl Harbor have stopped as well. This is now officially a bigger, badder attack. Historians will teach it that way to our children, too, much as they teach that Gettysburg was the turning point in the Civil War and that the Tet Offensive was the turning point in the Vietnam War.

But still the question remains: How will you celebrate this holiday?
Current Location: Southeast of Disorder
Current Mood: curiouscurious
Current Music: "Someone I Used to Love", -JB

(35 comments Leave a comment)

Comments:


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From:gypsydove
Date:September 11th, 2006 06:27 pm (UTC)
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I celebrate it by remembering the birth of my son yesterday...and then for today, I count my blessings that we have lived..and will continue to live.... I can hope that this will never happen again, but knowing human nature....at some point in the future it will. I can only prepare my son (who is now 5) to be a fighter for what he believes is right.... not a fighter in the sense of the word...of guns, and hate.... but a fighter for his truth, his worthfullness...his life.... and not to be afraid of what NEWS broadcasts talk about... I teach him to make his own reality....

I can only hope that the eye opening that was given to me five years and a day ago will stay with me and help me teach others to "believe" their worth...their contributions....

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From:gypsydove
Date:September 11th, 2006 06:34 pm (UTC)
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adendum: I really hate that the News brings this up, continually.... brings the fear and the worries out in everyone... I understand they have the right to free speech, but.... to much is TO MUCH....

remember... never forget...but remember with an understanding of human nature....

don't continually push it in our faces that WE WERE ATTACKED. everyone is aware of the terror attack...adn everyone is aware that people died, got hurt, lost loved one..gave thier life....

Remember the braveness and unselfishness that people had that day, giving their life so others may live... or giving all they had to save those that were trapped, bleeding....

Remember with gratitude that you are alive.... you have the power to teach how to live...

Remember that we are human...and as humans we all have feelings...

Sorry I tended to ramble a bit there...so I will close before I make it harder to understand...
From:weavingfire
Date:September 11th, 2006 06:40 pm (UTC)
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I, personally, can't bring myself to "celebrate" the death of thousands and spawing of two wars.
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From:mlleelizabeth
Date:September 11th, 2006 06:42 pm (UTC)
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Very interesting and thought-provoking post! I was thinking about suggestions I'd heard that this should be a holiday in the sense that business and governmental agencies close for it, and what on earth we're supposed to do with that time off. Certainly not "celebrate" in the sense that Americans usually celebrate holidays -- overeating and drinking, parties, etc. I don't think I'll be watching any specials on TV tonight. My plan is to read posts on LJ about it, and call my sister tonight and see how she's doing.

For another thoughtful and respectful post, I suggest this post by autumnyte
From:tanrinia
Date:September 11th, 2006 07:05 pm (UTC)
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alas, if it becomes a federal stay at home holiday like labor day and memorial day, that is EXACTLY what will happen. in 50 years there will be mattress sales and another excuse to extend the weekend's partying.
(Deleted comment)
From:tanrinia
Date:September 11th, 2006 07:06 pm (UTC)
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me neither. my tv has been off except for adult swim/fox cartoon premiers last night and the OSU football game.
From:ceolnamara
Date:September 11th, 2006 07:13 pm (UTC)
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maebaby1978 and I are going to the ocean to pray this evening.

I find myself missing my father today. I know that if this war hadn't been initiated, my father wouldn't have been called to serve in Germany. I know that there is the chance he will be called somewhere significantly unsafe in the future. I am proud of him, and I have no qualms with him being in the military and saving lives ... It's purely that he is my father, and I can't know that he'll stay safe.

So, today I remember not only those who perished in 2001, but the soldiers who have died since then and those that serve right now.
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From:chronarchy
Date:September 11th, 2006 09:55 pm (UTC)
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A good set of things to do.
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From:scotthuntington
Date:September 11th, 2006 07:25 pm (UTC)
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Ultimately, the United States forgets.

7 December, most people aren't able to put an event to that date in history. Days of tragedy are the first to be forgotten. Even celebrations, like 4 July are forgotten. We may celebrate/observe the day, but the meaning of the day is forgotten, today 4 July is a day of fireworks, carnivals, grilling, and alcohol. Rarely does anyone give thought to the meaning of the words in the document the day once celebrated.

The day will always be observed by media, but eventually, as the years become decades, the events will be important to a few who remember the day and those who felt an impact from the day. There will be a few families who value the passing of tradition and history that will emphasize the importance of the day for generations to come, but in general, I think the day will be just another day, however, this day will have Patriot Day in red text on the calendar.

We say never forget, but eventually, most will.

Of course, we're still burdened with the Patriot Act ...
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From:chronarchy
Date:September 11th, 2006 09:55 pm (UTC)
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The comparisons to Pearl Harbor after Sept. 11 bothered me deeply. It reminded me that Dec. 7 wasn't being remembered well, that we could shove it aside easily and quickly when something more recent showed up.

And now, Dec. 7, an attack that crippled our country's ability to fight back, kick-started an impressive war-machine rebuilding, and ultimately led to the modernization of a fleet that could take on the enemy is overshadowed by an attack that killed about 550 more people and caused more monetary damage but did not affect our ability to strike back, led to little modernization within the armed forces, and left us without a clear idea of what to do next.

They are completely different incidents, but the comparison will forever leave us believing that they are the same.

I do wonder if we'll find people taking their Sept. 11 weekend to grill out. . . That possibility interests me.
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From:tesinth
Date:September 11th, 2006 07:25 pm (UTC)
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I don't really think 9/11 qualifies itself as a "holiday", perhaps a "day of rememberance", but not a "holiday". To me, holidays are either religious days or days for celebrating certain people, activities or ideas (Presidents' Day, Labor Day, etc.). Of course, Memorial Day is a day of rememberance for all those who have died in the line-of-duty for their country, but this is inclusive of all wars and attacks, not a singular attack.

Of course, there is not much to "celebrate" about 9/11, but there are certain things that we could remind ourselves about. First, of course is the fact that while many of the casualties were "in the wrong place at the wrong time", and had no say in the matter, there were hundreds of truely great people who put their lifes in danger (and many paid with their lifes) trying to help their fellow mankind.

However, and I may be yelled at about this, the response of the firefighters, paramedics and police officers had *nothing* to do with "Patriotism." They were doing their noble jobs and initionally many didn't understand why the attack happened or even who did it. They had a massive crisis on their hand and they handled it as best as they could (and yes, we can all complain about the lack of communication, etc., but in the end what happened happened).

Only as the dust was settling did the "Patriot" view kicked in, which has been railroaded by various political cronnies every since (on both sides of the aisle). Instead of some dipshits living in caves who planned the attacks, now we're constantly under the threat of terrorism (hell, we've *always* been under the threat,...), and instead of Bin Laden hating the US for our extremely biased view towards Isreal as well as interfering with every other country in the world, we're now spoonfed bullshit about how al-Queda hates "freedom." Bullshit!

How did I mark today? Well, I did stay home from work, but that was more about joint pain than 9/11. I did take a few minutes and think about everyone who died, especially the responders, but that was it. If we constantly invoke the attacks of 9/11 in everyday life, as has been done for the last five years, then, and I hate typing this, the terrorist have won. They succeded in exactly what they set out to do. Their point was to inspire terror and hurt symbols of American power, and we've let them do just that.
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From:chronarchy
Date:September 11th, 2006 09:44 pm (UTC)
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I would agree with you that no man or woman entered the Trade Centers that day with "I'm doing this for my country!" on his or her mind. They entered, I imagine, for the same reasons we would have: it was the right thing to do.

Yes, they're heroes, but "patriots" does seem to place a mistaken emphasis on their actions. They are, perhaps, patriots in their own ways: I imagine that they loved their country and I know many fought for their country in the past. But at that moment, "heroes" fits the description so much better.

They didn't stop and ask for greencards on their way up the stairs before they helped someone out. They didn't check to make sure that people were citizens. They saw human beings in need of help.

Even going in because "it's my job" is heroic: the bravery it took to do that job at that time is immeasurable.

But yes, I agree with you.
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From:igsaisbdedicant
Date:September 11th, 2006 07:41 pm (UTC)
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Actually the Resolution of Independence was passed on July 2nd, not the Declaration.

As to commemorating this date - I will always remember. I was in mid-town Manhattan that day. Never in any real danger. But I will remember.

What do I do? At this point, just think about it. Light a candle. Say a prayer. In the future, I will speak to my daughter about it so that she knows.
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From:chronarchy
Date:September 11th, 2006 07:53 pm (UTC)
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Point. Fixing my above statements. . . I also had the name of the person incorrect. . .
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From:coyotegrrrl
Date:September 11th, 2006 08:52 pm (UTC)
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But today, as I listened in my half-asleep stupor, I realized what September 11th really was: a media gimmick. I have been hearing about the "special rememberance" editions of radio morning shows, where clips from various news stories and commentators will be played, for almost a week. September 11th is a way to garner listeners, to sway them to your station and your morning show, and a time to say things that perhaps you can't get away with on other days.

September 11th is NOT a media gimmick. As I lay awake this morning listening to my classic rock radio DJ in NYC interview a CNN reporter in NYC who started her first day on the job with 9/11 reporting, I remembered how five years ago I lay a in half-asleep stupor, vaguely listening to reports of one of the twin towers gone done, the horror and shock in the DJ's voice...how that slowly permeated my consciousness through the sluggishness of detached sleepland...and when it clicked, I burst into sobs.

Do I think the memory of 9/11 is often misused, esp by the Bush Administration or media participants with similar agendas? Yes. Is the *memory* desecrated and twisted into a gimmick? Sometimes.

I realized what September 11th really was: a media gimmick.

But don't call Septemeber 11th a media gimmick. The reporters were just as shocked and shaken as we all were that day. Coverage was not meant to garner ratings but simply to put as many facts out as they could, to get the truth out quickly while trying to screen for rumors or inappropriate footage. Calling it "Patriot Day?" Talking about "celebrating?" Yeah, that's sickening. But the day itself was not, IS not, a gimmick.

[User Picture]
From:coyotegrrrl
Date:September 11th, 2006 09:00 pm (UTC)
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Mike, I don't HONESTLY think you meant that section to come out like it did. But I was pissed off enough to need to get that reply off my chest. So make of it what you will. And possibly fix your phrasing.
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From:tlachtga
Date:September 11th, 2006 09:20 pm (UTC)

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Celebrate? Do you celebrate December 7th? Second Manassas? The Battle of the Brandywine? Why celebrate our failures? Why celebrate a "holiday" invented by a opportunistic administration, angling for a way to keep public emotions high so that we can invade Muslim country after Muslim country, except for the one--Pakistan--where OBL actually is?

July 4th is about declaring independence, about creating a new nation. September 11th is about failure, war, death and the country's current slide into totalitarianism.

Why would I celebrate that? Why would I even commemorate that?
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From:chronarchy
Date:September 11th, 2006 09:37 pm (UTC)
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Interestingly, Dec. 7 is labeled "Pearl Harbor Rememberance Day". It has an air of looking back, being solemn, and remembering those who died.

"Patriot Day" has an insinuation that we won that day, that we stood up to the bully and bloodied his nose.

And then we see that we're supposed to remember the day, and those who lost their lives. What sort of message does it send?

(Can you tell I'm thinking out loud?)

The commemoration seems to stem from a fear that we will forget. How one could forget, I'm not sure. But as tesinth points out, commemoration also insinuates our own fear: and that fear is what the terrorists were hoping to engender. Is it better to forget and bury the wound and not pay attention to it, hoping it will heal on its own; or to lick it constantly and never allow a scab to form over it?

Neither is a good method.

Perhaps celebration is the way to go? Perhaps latching onto Bush's statement that it was the beginning of an age of liberty is the best idea (or, it would be, if liberty were actually increasing). But perhaps optimism, not fear and looking over our shoulder, is the way to go?

I love thinking out loud :)
(Deleted comment)
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From:chronarchy
Date:September 11th, 2006 10:01 pm (UTC)
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It does, doesn't it? It's interesting to see how people react to this. And I do think that Sept. 11 gives plenty of people good reason to find hate and express it.

"Love thy neighbor" only goes so far. My understanding of the passage is that you're supposed to do that, even if he tries to blow up a plane in the middle of a city you live in.
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From:wishesofastar
Date:September 12th, 2006 04:41 am (UTC)
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(if you aren't flying a flag today, you're in violation, FYI)

I never fly a flag. What am I in violation of? I guess it doesn't matter anymore, anyway; it's past midnight. Just curious as to what statute I'm violating by not flying a flag.

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