Wednesday, September 12, 2012

And Then, A Year Later...

   Following yesterday's post of the 9/11 piece I wrote in 2001, I wanted to follow up and share the column I wrote one year after the attacks. I think you can already sense in this piece the growing distrust I had for politicians and other individuals trying to exploit the memory of that horrible event for their own gains. Unfortunately, it's continued to get worse, until we're at the point where government-types drop phrases like "Obamacare is as bad for our country as 9/11."

   Hardly, You Opportunistic Jackasses.

   This is from September, 2002.

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   Before you read this column, you should know these truths, which I hold to be self-evident:

   I am an American.  I recited the Pledge of Allegiance every morning and don't think I'm any more screwed up than the next guy, as long as that Next Guy is Charles Manson or the Unabomber. 

   I can sing the Star Spangled Banner, including most of the high parts, and I don't think we should drop it as our National Anthem because "it's too hard".  The guy who wrote that song did more work saddling his horse in the morning than most people do all day. We're Americans - we don't stop doing things because they're difficult.  Following this logic, eventually "Born In The U.S.A." will be sung at the beginning of ball games, for all the wrong reasons.

   You should also know I had a plane ticket in my hand September 11 last year; for obvious reasons, my flight was cancelled   I won't dwell on that; you're reading a newspaper - you're smart enough to connect the dots, or finish the Jumble at the very least.

   Apparently, I'm not patriotic enough though, as I just recently learned September 11th was designated "Patriot's Day" by President Bush, and I didn't get a card or anything.  Basically, it's a Public Law that asks us to remember the victims and tragic events of 9/11 - like the many magazines, newspapers, books, TV news and talk shows, radio shows, etc. will ever let you forget.

   Every September 11, from now till TV is no longer broadcast into your home, but rather, into microchips in your brain so you "see" it right in front of you, you'll be forced to relive those horrible moments.  They're on film, and there's no way any news station isn't going to run those again and again.  They're sensationalistic, they provoke a response, and most people won't turn away.  I think maybe it's time we do.

I'm about to smother a bald eagle with a flag - that's how freakin' patriotic I am...

   The First Lady, Laura Bush, is making a series of appearances asking parents of young children to turn off their TV that day, to avoid those awful images.  (Looking at her and Dubya side-by-side, she comes across as the brains of that outfit, doesn't she...?)

   I agree.  We, as a country, should find our collective volume control and turn it down for a day.  A little dignity, some respect, and the chance to reflect that we're all pretty lucky to be alive and hopefully making the most of that life.

   Instead, we'll get constant coverage from Washington and New York and Pennsylvania, where the various hijacked jets ended their flights.  We'll explore the ins and outs of every angle of the people and the planes and the towers and the concerts and the reactions - because we have a lot of news channels, and that's the biggest story of the day.  And that's kind of sad.

   I think the ongoing coverage has made us all a little numb to it.  And now, some people are asking Congress to consider Patriot's Day as a National Holiday, with a day off from work.  I hope it doesn't pass.

   We already have a number of holidays that were designed to commemorate veterans and workers and past leaders (Memorial Day, Labor Day and President's Day) that have mutated into three-day holiday weekends with gigantic Sale-A-Brations.  We were originally supposed to reflect quietly on those who sacrificed to give us the lifestyles we enjoy.  Years and generations later, it's just another long weekend spent in the SUV, driving to the beach or the lake or the mountains or wherever the family goes to get away...

   Not long from now, I predict you'll see the first 9/11 sales.  You know: "September Eleventh - a day that will live forever in our country's don't YOU forget to save like never before at Smiling Jack's Half-Off Patriot's Day Sale, where all golf shirts are all $9.11 or less!"

   Volume down.  Shhhhhhhhhhh.

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