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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:


[User Picture]
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.
[User Picture]
From:chronarchy
Date:September 11th, 2006 09:44 pm (UTC)
(Link)
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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