Yesterday was September 11th . I will offer my own personal prayer to the families of those lost in the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, whether employees, firefighters, or police but I do not think we are well served peeling this scab open each year or allowing politicians to co-opt the tragedy as those who screamed “Remember the Maine” did so many years ago. How many years will this go on?
It is appropriate to celebrate our Independence Day – commemoration of liberation and the birth of a nation. It is appropriate to honor our workers with Labor Day, and our veterans with Memorial Day. But if someone proposes a national holiday to honor the victims of 9/11, I will protest strenuously. Why should we continue to wail and bemoan our unfortunate experience as victim and target? What can it do but inspire hate and anger?
Some may say, “Well, we celebrate Memorial Day” to honor our fallen soldiers. It’s not the same thing. Soldiers go into service to fight for a cause and they know that, among other things they may be required to do, they may die. The victims of September 11th did not go to work, assuming that one of the risks of their eight hours on the job would be death. They were VICTIMS.
Do we, as a nation, come together each year to commemorate the discovery of a vaccine for polio? To remember the fall of the Berlin Wall? Are we building a memorial to honor the dead of massive natural disasters or many thousands more than the victims of 9/11 who fell in Iraq or Afghanistan?
Certainly we should not forget tragedies such as the San Francisco Earthquake, the dropping of the bomb on Japan or the horrors of the concentration camps in Europe, but the point in remembering these things is to learn from them and move on in order to make the world a better place, not to bitterly dwell upon them and use the event to flog an enemy we have not yet brought to justice.
Memory of 9/11 belongs in context with other unfortunate events in our history and the history of the world. It does not deserve to be beaten to death or used for political fodder in an election year which is, you will notice, when it is most fervently unearthed and eulogized.