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Monday, September 10, 2007

9/11 FATIGUE, OR 9/11 FRUSTRATION?


Picture courtesy of Terrorism Victims.org

By Michael Linn Jones

I refer you to FREEDOM EDEN and its post, 9/11 TRIBUTE FATIGUE. I believe the article quoted by Freedom Eden is from a Sept. 2, piece written by N.R. Kleinfield of the New York Times.

Again it comes, for the sixth time now — 2,191 days after that awful morning — falling for the first time on a Tuesday, the same day of the week.

Again there will be the public tributes, the tightly scripted memorial events, the reflex news coverage, the souvenir peddlers.

Is all of it necessary, at the same decibel level — still?

Each year, murmuring about Sept. 11 fatigue arises, a weariness of reliving a day that everyone wishes had never happened. It began before the first anniversary of the terrorist attack. By now, though, many people feel that the collective commemorations, publicly staged, are excessive and vacant, even annoying.

“I may sound callous, but doesn’t grieving have a shelf life?” said Charlene Correia, 57, a nursing supervisor from Acushnet, Mass. “We’re very sorry and mournful that people died, but there are living people. Let’s wind it down.”

Some people prefer to see things condensed to perhaps a moment of silence that morning and an end to the rituals like the long recitation of the names of the dead at ground zero.

I don't agree with the above sentiments. There is history, and then there is our own personal history. The world doesn't share the grief of someone losing a loved one to disease or accident. There are, though, certain intersections where an historical event becomes part of our own personal history.

There are many to choose from aside from 9/11, and I recall quite vividly the death of John F. Kennedy. I was 10 years old. School was dismissed and I'll never forget one of my fellow students hopping and skipping down the sidewalk saying, "He got shot in the head; he got shot in the head" over and over while pointing a finger gun at his own skull. Even at that age I was astounded that anyone could feel such joy at the death of another.

I cannot watch anything about November 22, 1963 without a strong sense of despair and frustration. If only this had happened; if only someone had been looking at the buildings instead of the motorcade...and on and on. This feeling I will carry to my grave. It is also frustrating to accept that one man; one loser like Lee Harvey Oswald changed our nation so much.

Frustrating also is to accept that 19 fanatics managed to alter the course of our nation, along with murdering over 3,000 innocent human beings. The use of airliners to inflict such damage will probably never happen again. Osama Bin Laden and his band of losers will constantly seek a new approach, one that will be overlooked by U.S. authorities. Like any terrorist organization, their credo says that we have to be lucky all the time, while they only have to get lucky once.

In our fractured and selfish society, 9/11 was a rare common experience. For those who lost loved ones on that day, I say ring the bell and read the names. The least I can do is respect their grief. Of course, those who died in Afghanistan and Iraq also have grieving families, and they too should be honored and remembered. I only hope that they will not have to wait and fight for recognition of their struggle as did those who fought in Vietnam or those who to this day grieve for the loss of their boys four decades ago.

No, scars heal but slowly for the human heart. One can't seriously dismiss the healing process. It's slow....very slow. Be patient with the suffering as you, too, may someday know what it feels like. I hope you never do. But that 'ole Golden Rule may not be a bad one to apply to any remembrance of 9/11.

Compare 9/11 with Pearl Harbor for a moment. The lives lost are roughly equal. But, unlike Pearl Harbor, 9/11 provided no nation to direct anger towards. True, the Taliban in Afghanistan had it coming, so to speak. Iraq we invaded, yet as brutal as Saddam Hussein was, his dictatorship was as close to being secular as any in the Middle East.

The true supporters of the attack on 9/11 are still out there. They are scattered among differing nation states. They claim to share the same faith, resulting in the idiocy of Bin Laden recommending America become Muslim, or the rank insensitivity of a Saudi prince telling Rudy Giuliani that the attack was due to American support of Israel.

So, convert to Islam; throw the Jews onto the fire, and the world will return to peace. Failing those disgusting goals, terrorism is a convenient tool for nations to take advantage of; it changes the life of the target population. And for those inside certain nations rooting them on (silently, of course) there is the option of claiming outrage over acts that they privately endorse and support.

If I have to strip down to my BVD's to see the National Archives, or the National Air & Space Museum, or the Smithsonian...then why should not those who, to this day, applaud my having to live like this be allowed the luxury of innocence?

Rather than punish an entire nation, or an entire religion, why not have a policy evolve that would make these financiers and faceless bureaucrats live in fear for their own lives?

I think on 9/11 the names of the murdered should be read while watching the film of the thousands of Palestinians cheering the deaths of those innocents on that day.

Those who supported 9/11 then, and rejoice at this anniversary, should not be allowed to have their cake and eat it, too.
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Cross posted at MICHAEL LINN JONES.COM

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3 Comments:

Blogger Papamoka said...

9/11 was in fact a mass murder and just like Pearl Harbor we should never forget.

I was thinking about your refrence to Pearl Harbor and how we Americans try to remember our history and not repeat the mistakes in it. I don't think the same thing applies to the Middle East extremist people.

Amazing post Mike and I loved it!

7:31 PM  
Anonymous Tom said...

I don't know if 9/11 is one of our few common experiences. People share many things in common--school, marriage, deaths, etc....and a major historical event is often experienced differently by different people, as your anecdote about JFK's shooting shows.

And regarding that last, I didn't realize you were that old. ;)

5:13 AM  
Anonymous Michael Linn Jones said...

Tom:
Technology has had a fracturing effect upon our society. While granting us many choices, it also stratifies and segregates us. You might think this a poor example, but growing up the broadcast of "The Wizard of Oz" was a Spring ritual. It wasn't shown in theaters; only on TV and only once a year. So whenever it aired everyone you knew was either watching it or not.

Now you can get the DVD and share the experience with hardly anyone. A major event such as 9/11 is as close as we can get to those pre-VHS/DVD days.

And for what it's worth, whenever I'm at the VA I feel rejuvenated by the WW II and Korean vets referring to me as a "kid." :)

10:21 AM  

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