Commemorating Sept. 11
A month from today we will mark the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon--as if you needed me to remind you.
Actually, a Washington Post survey published in Wednesday's paper showed that 30 percent of Americans couldn't accurately state the year the attacks occurred. That leaves me glad that my memory lapses pale in comparison to others, though it renews questions about the national IQ. (Go ahead, tell me remembering this date doesn't matter.)
Meanwhile, the entertainment industry is cranking out movies for the theater and television, and newspapers and magazines are writing story after story about where we are five years later.
Books are being published, photo exhibits being staged, and there will be an observance on Sept. 11 at the World Trade Center site in which the names of the victims will be read, with time given for family members to come and lay flowers. At sundown, the "Tribute in Light" will return for one night, in memory of those lost.
And we have a real-life reminder, with the busting up by British authorities of an alleged plot to stage an attack that appears, from the early reports, designed to be 9/11-like in its scope.
So my question is how do as a national properly memorialize the attacks on that day?
Some people to whom I have posed the question don't think we should at all, saying it was the first shot in a war that we are still in, and the best way to memorialize the dead is to get on with it.
Others fear the tendency to allow phony sentimentality to masquerade as sympathy, ultimately cheapening the occasion.
Yet there are others who don't think the country does enough. They want to make Sept. 11 a national holiday.
So how do we as a nation properly memorialize the attacks of that day, if at all?
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