WTC Memorial, Aug 29, 2002

My politically incorrect stance on 9/11

WTC Tribute in Light, 2002
WTC Tribute in Light, 2002

The TV promos have started. The special programs have started. The tenth anniversary of 9/11 is almost here and it’s clear we are going to be swamped with special observances, special programs, special coverage. Everything imaginable to observe and commemorate the date. To remember every painful detail and death.

Well, I won’t be watching. I’ll be switching the channel every time something about 9/11 comes on. Call me heartless, unpatriotic, unfeeling. I expect it, and I don’t care.

I wallowed in 9/11 coverage, footage, and retrospectives for years. I cried and cried. And cried some more. My heart broke a million times. I cannot and will not do it anymore. I’ve got to let it go.

No more watching planes crash into skyscrapers. No more watching people leap to their deaths. No more first responders choking in the dust of incinerated concrete and insulation and human beings. Enough. I’ve cried enough.

I am not going to do it anymore.

It’s been ten years. It’s history. And it’s still too soon.

22 thoughts on “My politically incorrect stance on 9/11

  1. Type, this isn’t politically incorrect, you just wrote about your human feelings. 9/11 is a hard date for American’s, even after almost 10 years I still never know what to do with my feelings about it.

  2. Never let a good tragedy go to waste.

    It’s as if the terrorists were writing the script for a play and we’re all eager to climb up on stage so we can be one of the characters. As if we need to be reminded of the fear, grief and (for me anyway) pure unadulterated, unalloyed anger.

    The focus of my anger, however, has shifted from hating the miserable representatives of 6th century brilliance to the unbridled, unconstitutional, tyrannical efforts that our own government has taken in what seems like a strategy designed to further the terrorists advertised goal of eliminating the freedom and self governance that empowered the USA to become the most advanced and successful industrial, social and political force in the history of the world.

    Some of that anger spills over onto the public in general. Too many of us simply didn’t and still haven’t strenuously objected to the loss of guaranteed freedoms in the damnable “Patriot Act”, “Homeland Security”, the “TSA” and a host of new attacks on liberty from virtually every federal agancy. Maybe worst of all – every one of these new protectionist schemes transferred trillions of our grandchildrens dollars into the cash registers of congressman’s, senator’s or president’s favorite election campaign business partner.

  3. ImA has the right take – the tragedy of 9/11 leveraged a world of mischief all out of proportion to one clever little religious fanatic’s successful plot that was successful beyond his wildest dreams. It was overreaction on a grand scale, and ImA didn’t even mention the worst of it – the Iraq War, enabled by a Pearl Harbor-sized anger. George W. Bush, already motivated by angst over Saddam’s plot against his father and surrounded by yes-men, seized the opportunity in classic Ready, Fire, Aim style. (There were no WMD’s.) And what have we wrought? A wobbly ungrateful “nation” still split in three by religious hatred and rife with violent internal attacks. It is a lesson for the history books. I wonder how it is being taught in the schools now? Does anyone know?

    From the perspective of a geezer I can tell you that the public’s propensity to react nowadays seems stronger than it once was. Part of it I think is the power of visual media, such as the marvelous picture in this post, not to mention the dramatic views of the twin towers under attack. This is a stronger, more visceral force than the newsreels, radio and newspapers of the Pearl Harbor era. I also see evidence of this heightened sensitivity and demagoguery in politics. Right-wing radio and Fox News are good examples – the demagoguery that flows from Limbaugh and others was unheard of in the old days. Not only is it not journalism, it is puerile trash for the most part. I believe it damages honest discourse and is a prime reason for the Congressional gridlock and public confusion that are damaging our country.

    To illustrate the power of media, consider this one example. A few weeks ago a Missouri soldier was killed in combat and the governor ordered all the flags in the state to half staff because of it. What a contrast to the Vietnam era, a war in which I served, and even more to WW II from which bodies flowed in the tens of thousands. I do not mean to diminish the soldier’s service in any way, but we have lost all perspective of the scope of history. How long will it be before our flags are all permanently at half staff?

    I see these things as symptomatic of the sad state of education in our country – reading, thinking, history, political discourse, consumer savvy – all seem to be on a downward track. Am I wrong?

    1. I can’t disagree with a word you said. The downward spiral of our educational system, in combination with grandstanding self-serving media, has fostered a generation of shallow-thinking, shortsighted, instant-gratification individuals.

      Flags at half staff all the time? It’s almost inevitable in an era where everyone who serves, whether in the armed forces or as a first responder, is designated “hero.” Local media dub every good citizen a “hero.” Anyone who does something selfless, generous, or thoughtful is a “hero.” Really? We’ve cheapened the word; no one remembers the truly extraordinary deeds it used to recognize.

      It’s a bit like our schools, where every student “deserves” promotion to the next grade and “deserves” to graduate whether they’ve mastered the course work or not. But of course they have, because we keep lowering the bar until everyone passes. We’ve become not only a nation of sheep, but a nation of ignorant sheep. And we’re proud of it! This is America, by golly, and we’re going to make everyone equal no matter how low the lowest common denominator has to be.

      I worry a lot about the road this nation is on. I really do. But I also wonder if our parents and grandparents were saying the same things in their “golden years.”

  4. I reread your 9/11 post and its comments, including mine, and I too feel the same. In addition I note with a feeling of sharp irony that the controversy-plagued 9/11 Memorial and Museum is projected to cost $60 Million dollars and it is poised to start collecting a $20 per person admission fee. They have elevated the thing to some kind of theme park. I don’t know how others feel about that but I think it’s a bizarre overreaction.

    1. I hadn’t heard about the admission. Since when do you pay admission to pay your respects at a public memorial? Admission charges will be prohibitive for a lot of people. Let me guess … there will be a gift shop selling cheesy souvenirs, too. T-shirts emblazoned with “I visited Ground Zero,” $40. Tiny vials of WTC dust, $50. Packets of ashes and sackcloth, a bargain at only $10. Sad, commercializing something like this.

  5. A few days ago, I noticed there were a bunch of 9/11 shows on and wondered why so many? Then I checked my watch. Doh! It’s that time of year already!? Yep, here we go again. I sat through one with my kids – the “foot notes of 9/11” one, as I hadn’t seen that before. It was rather interesting, focusing on the individuals around the attack – like the air traffic controllers and ticket agents who checked the terrorists onboard. Afterwards, I let them go back to watching cartoons and sitcoms.

  6. I don’t think it’s politically incorrect, it’s how you feel. And I respect that and understand it. I agree with many of the opinions expressed here. Though I personally feel a need to remember. We all have different perspectives and different ways of processing world events. I do understand those expressed here.

    But, I do choose to remember. Politics, agendas and buffoonery aside I choose to focus on and remember the people. I can’t help but be saddened by the actions that tore apart many worlds. How people were hurt. And how people suffered. But from that, I also choose to celebrate the stories of the people. I love to hear the stories shared of people reaching out to one another. And the stories of the families left behind and what they have done in the memory of their loved ones. From a horrible event (yes other horrible events were spawned) some things need remembered. And those “things” are the people and their stories.

    I understand the need to let it go. But I have a need to remember and count my blessings.

    Thank you for making me see things from another perspective. I had not really considered it from your point, before.

    1. I think each of us mourns, and contemplates, and remembers in a different way. And I understand that my desire to lay it to rest may not be shared by everyone. I mean no disrespect to you or anyone else who feels otherwise.

  7. I’m not one to dwell in the past. I was just struct my how much today reminded me of the day 11 years ago–same clear blue sky. All is peaceful here just as it was 11 years ago. Up here, that is. It’s a reminder how things can change in an instant and how I can be so insulated from what[s happening not so very far from me.

    I don’t think we should dwell in the past; but I don’t think we should ignore it either, lest we fall into the trap of repeating the mistakes that lead to unnecessary tragedies–personal, national, or global.

    1. How I wish we could and would learn from the past, but it seems more often than not we don’t. A human failing, I think. Ignore the past, ignore the experience of others; this time it will be different.

... and that's my two cents