Remember September 11, 2001?
The sense of profound loss?
The horror of seeing not just the explosion of the planes into the sides of the World Trade Center Twin Towers but the enormity of their collapse?
Or perhaps more painfully, the image of men and women, without hope of rescue and unable to withstand the heat and smoke inhalation, hurling themselves from the inferno, seeking a few more gasps of air before being killed by the impact of their fall?
What about September 12, 2001?
The feeling of an urge to do something, both to assist those who miraculously survived the attacks by donating blood and to kill the bastards behind the worst act ever perpetrated on Americans.
Do you remember September 13, 2001?
The reverence we all had for our first responders, firemen and police officers, who rushed inside the burning buildings to rescue civilians. Some 422 of those brave heroes did not make it out.
Finally, do you remember the rediscovered reverence for our flag, sparked by the powerful image of three New York firemen raising the national banner in the midst of the mountain of smoldering rubble at Ground Zero.
Do you remember the frenzy there was for the flag, its omnipresence on people’s homes and businesses?
Patriotism was at a fever pitch that week in September 2001.
Yet 17 years after one of the biggest scars was inflicted on our national psyche, the main reminder to American society about 9-11 are the lengthened security lines and gropey TSA agents at the airports.
The national spirit has dissipated.
Hollywood is releasing the moon landing film First Man which intentionally leaves out one of the most iconic images ever captured: Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin saluting the planted US flag on the lunar surface.
Canadian actor Ryan Gosling, who stars in the title role as Neil Armstrong, defended the omission claiming the American financed, developed, and executed moon landing as a “human achievement.” In contrast, “Second Man” Aldrin, who made his name actually doing something of historic consequence and not convincingly pretending to have done so, has registered his strong disagreement with the national slight on social media.
Zooming from the Sea of Tranquility to Beaverton, Oregon sports gear giant Nike has made the perpetually disgruntled out-of-work quarterback Colin Kaepernick the face of their “Just Do It” 30 year anniversary advertising campaign.
Kaepernick achieved a bit a fame for almost leading his team to a victory in Super Bowl XLVII though more so for being a provocateur and team distraction when it became apparent his starting days under center were behind him. Refusing a contract with more than one team, Kaepernick has carved a post-sports career niche as a celebrity athlete/social justice warrior.
Kaepernick’s most famous in-stadium play wasn’t something he did on the field but on the sideline during the pregame of the August 27, 2016 preseason game against the Green Bay Packers where the quarterback refused to stand for the national anthem while dressed out in uniform.
Kaepernick’s protest was his only source of distinction that day as he completed only 2 of 6 passes for 14 yards.
Being more showman than viable starting quarterback Kaepernick decided to “give purpose” to his disrespect for display of the American flag and playing of the national anthem by kneeling a week later during the national anthem.
It was apparent from the start Kaepernick was making up his “sacrifice” as he went along and gaining more attention for what he was doing prior to the game than during the game. By November Kaepernick was riding the bench not because his politics sucked (he did play in San Francisco) but his play sucked.
Yet this man raised in relative privilege and having achieved the dream of not only playing in the NFL but in the Super Bowl declares that this is a country that oppresses black people.
When Nike signed him to their endorsement deal, they also signed on to his false indictment of the United States. And many Americans shouted their co-signing.
Too bad Nike’s commitment to Social Justice Warfare doesn’t extend to the other shoreline of the Pacific where their products are actually made.
The era of national pride and unity, where the only colors that mattered were red, white and blue sewn together are quickly disappearing in the distance of the country’s rearview mirror.
Apparently even the concept of “sacrificing everything” means something radically different now then it did to the loved ones of the heroes who rushed towards and not away from their doom.
Disrespecting the flag is not only acceptable but it is celebrated and to voice disagreement too loud makes one a bigot, one subject to consequence to your livelihood.
This is where we stand 17 years later.
God bless America.
Or what’s left of it.