We’re always told to remember 9/11, as if we might forget it. In a way, we’re also told how to remember. We’re supposed to remember the victims; the brave and selfless first responders; the idea of patriotism. We’re not supposed to reflect on a painful defeat (for that was what 9/11 was). We’re not supposed to reflect on how Bush/Cheney failed America, both before and after 9/11.
A momentous event like 9/11 requires a balanced perspective. It shouldn’t be just another day to wave the flag and remember heroes. Indeed, when we remember the heroes of that day, let their sacrifice inspire us to do better and be better, as I argue in this article from last year to mark the 20th anniversary of 9/11/01.
When the first hijacked plane hit the World Trade Center on 9/11/2001, I was at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. I was in my car, listening to the radio, just outside the North Gate, where a B-52 sits on static display as a symbol of American power. The first reports suggested it was an accident, but it soon became apparent it was a deliberate act. As a second and then a third plane hit the WTC and the Pentagon, I remember hearing speculation that 9/11 could have a higher death toll than the Battle of Antietam, the single bloodiest day of the U.S. Civil War. It was bad enough, if not that bad.
I remember confusion and chaos in the government, and the use of the word “folks” by President George W. Bush to describe the hijackers. Very quickly, his rhetoric changed, and soon America would…
View original post 641 more words