Monday, September 12, 2011

9-11-01 Redux

No, I haven’t forgotten; and I never will.  I was anchoring news for a group of five Madison radio stations that fated September morning ten years ago, and I have a CD of our coverage in case I ever want to live it again.  But I don’t.

I guess I’m not an overtly sentimental person about death; I’ve told my wife that when I kick the bucket she should just chop me up into pieces and throw me in a (big) hole in the ground in the huge raspberry patch along our southern fenceline, somewhere near the two pet cats we placed at rest there after they passed on.

I will never forget, and I doubt any American over the age of 10 who was alive that day will forget. That date is as burned in as December 7th, 1941 was to the prior generation, and as the murder of JFK is, to my generation.  (November 22nd, 1963 – but most of us don’t remember the date, just where we were and what we were doing when we got the news.)

In my opinion, the vast coverage of the tenth anniversary (or, as far too many network dweebs said, “ten-year anniversary”) lacked one critical element.  I’ll get to that in a moment.

I knew Sunday’s coverage, no matter which network or cable news outlet you watched, would be over the top with sentimentality and that even our sporting events that day would be interlaced with maudlin references to the day and all the innocent and unsuspecting – and all the incredibly brave – Americans who died that day.  That was to be expected.  It’s the way the TV folks are.  Excess is the default position.

But, as far as I’m concerned, one of the most important elements of the 9-11 story was missing in all the coverage on all the stations I saw yesterday.  The missing element was the capture and killing of Usama bin Laden, which we found out about Sunday night May 1st.

To me, you can’t tell the story of 9-11 without telling the part about how our brave and dedicated military and intelligence community tracked down that bastard, and how a phenomenally intrepid US Navy Seal Team stormed his compound, ended bin Laden’s life, AND were able to get away safely after their duty had been done.

The story of 9-11 is far from over, but – to me – you can’t tell the story without saying we got the bastard who was behind it and arranged for him to meet Allah.

It would be fitting to honor our military – those who have served in Afghanistan and Iraq, regardless of your feelings about those missions – to acknowledge their contributions, right along with the brave firefighters and police officers who gave their lives trying to help their fellow Americans on 9-11.

1 comment:

  1. On the 10th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, the war had been over longer than it had been waged. There were no big speeches or commemorations. No politicians vying for the most camera-visible seats. Washington marked the day by conducting a test of its air-raid sirens.

    So, enough already. It is hard to let go while the wars the attacks spawned are still going on. But by tramping constantly over the same ground, hallowed though it may be, we risk wallowing in the September 11 attacks.

    We all lost something on that day, but let's not be maudlin about it. We must move on.

    As one who watched the smoke from the fires for 100 days, and regularly sees the names of my lost friends painted on fire trucks and memorial street signs, I'm hoping this is the last time we indulge in remembering that human tragedy in such an almost embarrassingly over-the-top way.