The names have been read, the memorials were washed with the freshened tears of loved ones remembering those lost to the machinations of madmen. A quiet settles across America and many people are already planning the memorial to be played out in five, ten and fifteen year increments.
It’s a confused and confusing spectacle. Do you stop in solemnity, lower your head and pray for those fallen? Of course you do. Do you ask your higher power’s blessing and protection for those fighting the progenitors of this hatred filled attack in foreign lands? Of course you do. Do you stock up on the beer, bratwurst, hotdogs and burgers and celebrate another Sunday soon transformed from that same solemnity to NFL SUNDAY? Sadly, probably.
Not even 9/11/11 can escape the demon commercialization of networks industrial, publicly broadcast and mercantile. Since 8/11/11 there must have been thirty-two bazillionteen advertisements bluntly traumatizing people’s awareness the tenth anniversary of 9/11 approached. They each proclaimed theirs to be the “best” coverage of the memorials. ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, CNN, MSNBC and the pantheon of alphabetic carnivores picking the bones of the dead and fallen blasted the airwaves at each commercial break. Selling ads is what they’re about.
It has to be wondered: what’s the difference between these broadcast entities and the street corner hacks peddling hastily prepared, screen printed T-shirts telling us to not forget at a suggested retail of $14.95? Or, the bumper stickers appearing patriotically stating “9/11 – Never Forget!” with pictures of Twin Towers no longer a part of the Manhattan Skyline; price – $5.
Newspaper columnists have spoken of our need to “move into tomorrow”, to pay tribute but not forget their liberal message (or conservative, middle-of-the-road or outright vile) in criticizing past regimes tasked with responding to this travesty. Messages of this sort can’t pass without an attempt to sway America to deal with its loss in a particular manner. It’s a political season they follow.
Others remember the way past tragedies were memorialized with an understated calm carried out because the enemy was severely, convincingly and overwhelmingly beaten and subjugated under the weight of treaties and punitive declarations of their humiliation in defeat. That’s the recognizable way wars should be conducted: the traditional way. The enemy wears their uniforms, we wear ours. We kill each other like civilized plastic soldiers in sandboxes, led by 10 year old military geniuses bending the “rules of war” only when necessary or you can nuke the enemy’s capitol when possible.
This war is different. This war dropped the reality of guerrilla warfare onto America’s doorstep. The hatred came to rest on the ground where the towers collapsed. Bodies lay broken beneath the rubble but a spirit took flight with the thousands of souls set free that day. America’s spirit of determination was ascendant and visible for the insult suffered at the hands of people who wouldn’t play by the “rules of war” we’d come to accept and expect.
In the Gardens of Stone we have tributes etched in granite and marble. The names are etched deeply into the stone’s heart but equally deep in the heart of a nation. Where the towers stood were towers of light, like ladders souls would climb to gain rest in God’s sitting room though already accepted into Heaven. Concord and Lexington are relived in the footprint of these two fallen towers. There’s a quiet, faux-silence inhabited by the heartbeats of the living matched in cadence by the spirited memory of those lost that day; and since.
Putting aside the commercialization, we MUST remember. There’s too much to be forgotten. It allows us NO excuses to return to our disinterested, disheartened, distracted and complacent ways of 9/10/2001. We must move forward, but we must remember those who died. The living owes it to those who died since 9/11/01 on foreign ground searching for the animals attacked us without warning or reason. History is repetitive for those who forget.
Yes. We need to move forward. But we must look back at those who sacrifice so we may live free.
To not do so would be a disgrace.
Thanks for listening.