It irks me that the retail sector uses holidays such as Memorial Day, Independence Day, Veterans Day, and Presidents’ Days as revenue generators; of course there’ll be Stars and Stripes everywhere – especially on the clothes, the ad flyers, and the banners that adorn the inside and outside of the stores.
It’s how many choose to celebrate important days in our country’s history; what better way to honor the patriots who served and the patriots who died than to buy Designed-And-Accounted-For-In-America-But-Sometimes-Manufactured-Elsewhere Products?
Can a “9-11 Fire Sale” be far behind?
In recent weeks, articles like these have been written about what is perceived by some to be an increasing amount of “disrespect” at the 9-11 Memorial complex including reports of local kids tossing garbage into the memorial’s reflecting pools. I’ve heard more than a handful of people question “Why is 9-11 still such a big deal – that was over ten years ago?” or “50 more cancers? Why is so much attention is paid to first responders?” or “Haven’t ‘those people’ been given enough money?”
I can offer about 3,000 reasons why these people are very, very wrong…
As in the ten previous years, I’ll be at the Squad 1 firehouse in Park Slope, Brooklyn and as in the ten previous years, there will be moments of silence. Have you ever gone to your local firehouse and asked any of the firefighters why 9-11 is “still such a big deal”? Or your local police department? Have you ever asked someone who is currently in the military why 9-11 is “still such a big deal”?
One thing I can assure you is there isn’t a single New Yorker who doesn’t look up and flinch a bit when a jet flies overhead on a cloudless blue-sky day – especially on 9-11. Same goes for the Washington, DC and Shanksville, PA areas. I guess it’s “still such a big deal.”
Have you ever asked someone whose loved one was murdered on that day why it is “still such a big deal”?
Perhaps it is something you should consider doing. I know you think you’ll hear people bemoaning their losses – and you will – but most of the people will tell you what they’ve learned about themselves and others and the world around them near and far.
Not forgetting is not about being maudlin or holding on to the past; history is studied and analyzed so that we hopefully don’t make the same mistakes in the future. On a personal level, Penelope Trunk wrote a nice piece on how to live without regret in a time when it often seems as if towers are teetering all around us.
9-11 has significantly altered the way first responders address catastrophic events; yet mistakes are still being made and bureaucracies still need to catch up with present day realities such as how cooperation on local, state, and national levels is actually a good thing or how having far better communication systems that don’t degrade during all-hell-is-breaking-loose events is not bad either.
In what is now the eleventh year since 9-11, I’m still learning about how I’ve been affected. Remembering 9-11 is more than remembering loss and grief; it is thinking how to live a better life and be a better person, neighbor, friend, parent, spouse. It is Penelope Trunk making a compelling case for not living a life of regrets.
9-11 reminds me of the work I need to perform on myself because there are 3,000 more Angels in Heaven than I anticipated and I’m just not sure there’s room for me. It is and always will be a sacred day.
Most of all, I hope it’s never a shopping day.