no ordinary day
[When you are done reading this, please go here]
As we make our slow crawl towards September 11, 2003 and the second anniversary of that day, I can't help but notice that the media has decided to move on.
With the second anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks only three weeks away, TV networks have planned nearly no special programming to commemorate the horrible events of that day.
In New York, many of the Sept. 11-related events will be private and attended only by the families of the victims.
Instead of breaking into regular programming, the major broadcasters will cover the day in their regular newscasts.
I felt a small fist of fury take hold of my heart when I read that. The fury is mingled with sadness and fear and that strong voice that has resided in my head for almost two years now keeps repeating: We Must Not Forget.
We do not need another slo-motion replay of those enormous blades of steel crashing into the World Trade Center, for that image is surely burned on the retinas of every single person who was witness, whether physically or through the television.
We do not have to play a repeat of that day's events in order to commemerate the lives lost and the lives ruined. There are so many other things that could be said and most important of those things is how we are rebuilding; our lives, our spirits, America. We can do nothing worse than to make our enemies think that 9/11 has become an afterthought and two years later we are complacent and forgetful and perhaps we need another wake up call.
No, we should be showing progress while still paying tribute to those left behind. The coverage of 9/11/03 should show the babies of the widows of 9/11, carrying on the spirit and personalities of their fathers. It should show the plans for the rebirth of the site of the World Trade Center, the gardens that will spring to life there, the entries for the memorial design contest.
There should be investigative pieces on how far we've come in the War on Terror, all the terrorists who had their hands in that day who have been captured, all the cells that have been broken up. There should be a big reminder flashing across the screen at one point that there have been no terrorist attacks on American soil since that day.
How are the firemen who walked out of the burning rubble coping? What about the people who made it down the stairwell and out into the open air and safety? Yes, there should be images of that day shown, perhaps a short montage just to jar our memories and wake whatever fight that was in our souls that has since gone to sleep.
I want to remember. I never want to lose that memory of the smoky sky above Manhattan that I viewed from my office window. I want to remember Pete Ganci's wake and the sharpshooters atop my neighbor's house during the memorial service for Claude Richards, I want to remember the haunted look in my firefighter cousin's eyes and the look of despair on my father's face. I want to remember the chilling feeling of looking at a sky free of jumbo jets for days on end and the quiet, the unnerving quiet, that made those days after so surreal and chilling. I need to remember these things because to forget would be to spit in the face of every single person who died that day.
Relive those events, if only for a moment. There are a million places to look in case you have forgotten, in case you turn on your television on September 11, 2003, hoping for something to help you remember that day, to live through it again just to not forget.
We cannot move on because we are still there. There are 12,000 body parts yet to be identified. There are people still in mourning, people who will never, ever get over seeing their loved one's name on this list. There are still people who want us dead, animals who would stop at nothing to see that the events of 9/11 are repeated, maybe somewhere else. Maybe your own backyard this time.
What does it say about our country when the protesters and conspiracy theorists will mark the day with more of an effort than the mainstream media is? When activists who want to put salt in our wounds and rip open our scars are commemorating that day (albeit in a disgusting way) more than our own media, who will be continuing on with soap operas and Jerry Springer as if this was just another day?
I will never forget. And I will do my best to make sure no one else does either because, obviously, the media has decided to just blow this day off in favor of ratings and advertising dollars.
For starters, you can go here and read the personal accounts I collected one year ago, for a project alled No Ordinary Day. There are more here. They will break your heart, they will make you cry and most of all, they will make you remember. Which you damn well better do.