Friday, September 11, 2009

Eight Years Later

What exactly will you think of today — on the eighth anniversary of 9/11?

Our daughter — a 2nd grader — asked us at breakfast this morning to explain what happened eight years ago.

So we told her, in (we hope) age-appropriate terms, about that day — which occurred 53 days before her birth. We emphasized the bravery of the firefighters, police and military personnel lost, as well as the passengers of United 93. We told her about the two people we knew who had died in the attacks:

My college classmate Commander Robert Allan Schlegel, USN.

Firefighter David Fontana, elite Squad 1 in Park Slope, Brooklyn. David was the husband of our friend Marian Fontana.

And, finally, we told her how people came together to help each other and rise to the challenge of overcoming the tragedy, striving to make our country better and stronger than ever. Our worst nightmare produced our greatest unity.

That unity is what I will think of today — fleeting as it was — because regaining it is the only real and lasting way for the country to honor those who gave their lives.

If only for a brief while, there were no Republicans, no Democrats, no special interest groups, no Glenn Becks, no Michael Moores.

There were only Americans.

President Bush had the support of a nation and the free world ... and promptly squandered it. Only the financially vested and ideologically blinded can continue to say waging war on Iraq was the best course of action in the wake of 9/11.

Osama Bin Laden did exactly what he set out to do — "We are continuing this policy in bleeding America to the point of bankruptcy."

We screwed the pooch and soldiers are still dying or coming home damaged and ill-tended.

(The lack of care for our veterans is probably the greatest national shame of — at least — my lifetime. It is morally criminal to send soldiers to war if you are unwilling or unable to properly bring them home. "Homeless veteran" is a phrase that simply should not exist.)

So eight years later, we find ourselves more divided than ever.

There is an anger — one that has been present from the moment the final vote was counted — directed at Barack Obama that is historic.

I may be mistaken (my research department is on unpaid leave,due to the fact that my credit card companies — the ones owned by the same financial institutions we all bailed out —— have thanked us by ramming the APR equivalent of Purple Thunder up our asses as they use the resulting profits to catch up on executive bonuses) but I don't recall gun-toting protesters during previous administrations, or Congressional hecklers during a speech by the President of the United States or parents frightened to allow their children to be exposed to a speech by the President of the United States, written specifically for them.

I further don't recall a sitting president ever being publicly called a racist or an entire movement enacted — from the instant of his election — to hamstring the very legitimacy of his presidency.

I also don't recall ever having an African-American president.

The behavior of the loudest and the crudest and the news outlets that give them a voice has besmirched the memory of those we honor today.

Can we, just once, consign the likes of breathless, self-pleasuring media personalities Bill O'Reilly, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Michael Moore, Laura Ingraham, Wolf Blitzer, Keith Olbermann; celebrity 9/11 conspiracy douchebags Charlie Sheen, Rosie O'Donnell, Daniel Sunjata and Wille Nelson; and morally dubious politicos too numerous to mention to the sidelines?

Can we conduct ourselves in a way befitting that silent promise we all made eight years ago as two towers fell, the Pentagon exploded and the United 93 passengers charged up the aisle:

I'm going to earn their sacrifice. I'm going to make them proud. I'm going to be better than I was yesterday.

Oh — gotta go — I hear my daughter reading Charlotte's Web.

Thank you, Rob.

Thank you, David.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

On 9/11 I was one of just 1200 INS Special Agents in the world (we had agents in major world cities). It was a heavier than usual traffic day in Los Angeles and it took me two hours to get to work. Once there, I was sent home by "S" in INS who in their infinite stupidity didn't see a role for the only investigative branch in the US that knew who actually belonged in the country and who did not. Once I finally made it to LAX to work with the two FBI agents assigned there, it seemed that every agency had people there working the situation. There was an area set up to feed the various law enforcement which was taken advantage of by uniform police rolling in at lunchtime for free food. However, INS was not allowed to eat there, I was given extra lunch coupons (it was very expensive to eat at the airport) by two senior anti-terrorist detectives with the LAPD or one of the two FBI agents working there. I took a picture of the sandwich board listing all of the agencies authorized to eat there as a reminder that this county has never supported immigration enforcement nor has the law enforcement community. We are the scapegoat and flogging dummy for all the nation's ills. When immigration was disbanded and merged with Customs it made things even worse as no one wanted to do immigration enforcement and a big chunk of what was left from the Investigative Branch of the INS was railroaded into retirement. If you think we deserved it you never walked in the shoes of the good ones there. So as I think of the victims of the 9/11, my mind drifts to the victims of all of the Holocaust in WWII, and then to thousands of servicemen and women who have lost their lives since. Except we made millionaires out of the first two (60 billion has been paid to holocaust victims to date) and yet, we won't pay for adequate medical care for the latter. Go figure, if it isn't a jumbo jet rammed up their butt while their flipping backyard burgers does anybody really care who fights evil in this world anymore? Think about it; every time someone in this country smokes a joint they are contributing to the slaughter of men, women, children and the few honest people in the world trying to fight the good fight. It doesn't matter if it is pot, cocaine, aliens, booze, cigarettes, counterfeit jeans, smugglers with undermine justice as we know it in the civilized world. So before you go trying to tell me about global warming and recycling your coke cans, think about the Mexican policeman who was machine gunned to death in bed with his wife and nine year old daughter. You smoked that joint and you killed them just as sure as the guy who pulled the trigger. So plant your memorials, have your parades, but go home and ask yourself if you aren't really going to hell just as sure as the hijackers.