The third anniversary of 9/11 is just around the corner. As the weeks ticked down our nation was preoccupied
with a Republican convention, protecting NYC from terrorism at that convention, the ongoing war in Iraq with its continuing
loss of lives, and a political scandal where the Governor of New Jersey has resigned. With all this "noise" bombarding us,
will we be in any frame of mind
on September 11, 2004 to stop and remember a dark event centering around terrorists and death? Or will we
give lip service to emotions, now long dulled by the continued onslaught of "orange" alerts and soldiers dieing, spending
just one moment on Patriots Day to remember 2001's great loss?
Indeed, we as a nation, must move on. The third anniversary cannot and should not be as hurting as the first
one. We've shed our tears, dealt with our grief, put the event into perspective. But is it too much to ask for one day, THE
DAY, to be remembered with more than a passing nod? Or will we just hold a few, quick services, show one or two television
specials, do less on that day then on Martin Luther King Day, or St. Patrick's Day?
9/11 hasn't been a big media occurrence in the last year. Other than reporting that once again commuters
could travel to the WTC area via a new PATH train station, dedication of the Freedom tower (first building to be built at
Ground Zero) ground breaking on July 4th and the recent hoopla over the 9/11 Commission's findings, not much more has been
seen as news worthy. That is the problem: if it isn't splashy, controversial, or threatening, the media don't find it interesting
for a story.
The 9/11 Commission - hindsight and foresight
When the 9/11 Commission finally published their report, the media chose to focus on only a few specific
points. The entire report is hundreds of pages in length and deals with every dimension of Al Qaeda's involvement. It presents
a comprehensive background of Islamic terrorist activities from the early 1990s up to 9/11 and how we were sidetracked into
believing the threat to America
resided elsewhere then on our home shores. We heard reports about our government being unable to "connect
the dots," but the report makes clear that there were so many aspects to the ongoing threats, finger pointing is just negative
The Executive Summary is only 36 pages long and does a good job of summarizing the lengthy report. You can
find it at http://www.9-11commission.gov/report/ Many points are a sad read, to see the reality of what was going on right under our noses. This report has now,
too become a part of our 9/11 history. It presents many, many good points and suggestions. And the 10 people who were part
of the commission also feel that there is value in never forgetting what that Black Tuesday was like. They end the summary
with "We call on the American people to remember how we all felt on 9/11, to remember not only the unspeakable horror but
how we came together as a nation - one nation. Unity of purpose and unity of effort are the way we will defeat this enemy
and make America safer for our children and grandchildren." (p 26 Executive Summary of the 9/11 Commission, 2004)
The Twin Towers live on
The Twin Towers themselves have become ghosts. Even though 3 years have passed since they were pulverized,
images of the Twin Towers continue to appear everywhere! No other building, no other human built object (other than the cross
that represents the Christian Jesus' crucifixion) displays itself in more places for so many reasons. They are on postcards
in stores in NYC, in business logos with a skyline that is now outdated, on the arm patches of the NYC firefighters, and in
stores selling souvenirs with their physical likeness replicated in various materials from glass to plastic.
They live on not just in items you can find in NYC but in movies made prior to 2001. They also stand tall
in the skyline of print. Do you have some old magazines in your house? Leaf through them and the Towers will pop up in advertisements
and logos. Look through art books and you will see numerous artists have featured them as part of their work. The most unnerving
and extensive place where you can find them is driving down any highway. From large to small, decals and bumper stickers with
the images of the Twin Towers adorn thousands of cars all across our nation. I just wonder if the cars' owners still feel
anything in relation to 9/11 or the images are just a leftover from a patriotic moment now long forgotten.
Tour Guide to Ground Zero
The most heartbreaking way to remember 9/11 is to take a PATH Train ride from New Jersey to lower Manhattan.
Each day tens of thousands of commuters are reminded of the tragedy. As the train comes out of the tunnel, the first thing
you see is the slurry wall. Then you notice the empty space of the Pit as the train circles around, crossing over the footprint
of the South Tower. Every time I travel to lower Manhattan, I make sure I'm in the first car of the train. On numerous occasions,
I have talked with tourists, alerting them to what they will see. It gives me an eerie feeling that I have become a
sort of tour guide to Ground Zero! For a description of this trip...