I have started and stopped this blog a couple of times now.
The first time, there was too much anger. The second blog contained too much sarcasm.
Well; there are several reasons.
First of all, I struggle with calling an event that was filled with so much pain, suffering, sorrow and sadness an “anniversary”.
But, many are referring to the tenth year since the 9/11 attacks as “the tenth anniversary of 9/11”.
Could we call it something else; something like “memorial” or “observance” or maybe “remembrance”?
I don’t know, but to me, we celebrate anniversaries and 9/11 doesn’t exactly put me into a celebratory mood. I observe 9/11 in my own way, but I don’t “celebrate” it. I will describe that later in this blog.
From what I am seeing and reading, 9/11 has been grossly politicized in every sense.
From persistent accusations that our own government was somehow complicit to denying cancer benefits to those men and women who worked on The Pile in the days that followed the horrendous tragedy, even though medical evidence proves linkage; our focus as a nation on those directly affected has been lost.
Add to that our attorney general’s misguided notion of justice for terrorists to building a mosque near the Hallowed Grounds of the WTC and it only perpetuates more suffering and sadness, instead of allowing affected families and friends to bring some sense of closure to such a senseless, violent act.
I realize that some will never bring closure to 9/11 and I understand and respect that. There are no set processes for how to deal with tragedy. We all grieve differently. It is at a very personal and private level, so we can’t tell anyone how to deal with it, because it might be that, in their minds, many questions remain unanswered and always will.
And if it wasn’t already emotional and confusing enough, NYC Mayor Bloomberg announces first that clergy will not be included in the 9/11 ceremony nor will first responders. Their rightful place at the “official” ceremony has been denied by the shameful act of a mayor who has no shame. It is politics at its ugliest and lowest form. I had hoped that Bloomberg would acquiesce, but at this writing, he has not. His cowardly actions defy description.
Yet another reason for my angst as 9/11 approaches are the many “cottage industries” that have grown out of 9/11.
A recent study described that much of the money raised after 9/11 in the name of 9/11 never made it to a “recognized” charity.
And we are supposed to be surprised by that revelation?
Though many of the charities could account for every dime taken in and spent, others could not. I know that the money that I helped to raise went from my hand to the hand of an FDNY firefighter, so I have no doubts whatsoever that it got into the right hands. But others weren’t so fortunate.
Anyone knows that where money is involved, corruption may find its way into the process and ten years later, it is still prevalent. It sickens me that predators would prey upon the emotional struggles of people who find it difficult NOT to contribute money to what appears to be a charitable cause, but they do.
Blame the tax codes, where anyone with the right tax form can claim “not-for-profit” status and rake in untold fortunes…until they are caught!
And in closing, I question the call by some to make 9/11 a national “holiday”.
Perhaps what they meant to say is that 9/11 should be a national day of remembrance, much like Veterans’ Day. I’d be all for that.
But, I have the same problem with “holiday” as I have with “anniversary”. It simply leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
If you think about it, we already have Memorial Day. The President could decree that this would be the day to honor those lost on 9/11. It would be very appropriate to do so. However; 9/11 could still be a day that our first responders could honor those who lost their lives on that day as well. I just don’t think that it should be treated like a vacation day for the millions who would take it.
In this tenth year since 9/11, much has gotten in the way of what should be a solemn observance for those lost and for those who are still suffering from the events of ten years ago.
There will be several ceremonies throughout the nation that you can attend, but if you can’t attend one, then remember 9/11 in your own way, because there is no right way or wrong way.
I will remember 9/11 by riding my motorcycle to Springfield, IL to the Illinois Firefighter Memorial. Next to that memorial is a beautiful, black granite memorial to 9/11. There will be no large gathering; just me and my thoughts. It will be a time for personal reflection.
I will not have to sit in front of the TV and watch the hours and hours of replays of that day.
It’s not because I can’t; it is because I don’t need to. The images of that day are forever seared into my soul and as long as I am alive, I will never forget 9/11.
The opinions and views expressed are those of the article’s author, Art Goodrich, who also writes as ChiefReason. They do not reflect the opinions and views of www.fireengineering.com, Fire Engineering Magazine, PennWell Corporation or his dog, Chopper. All articles by the author are protected by federal copyright and cannot be reproduced in any form without expressed permission.