Thursday, September 11, 2008


You can't let the date pass without some kind of remembrance of seven years ago. It marked the beginning of profound change, not only for this country, for our family. It was the start of this life we're living now: I would soon step down from my position at the IRS, my grandmother would fall and break her hip and begin her two year decline to her eventual death. Unrelated to the events of the day, in some ways, but marked by that time, nonetheless.

What sticks in my mind most of those days are the images that would eventually come of those people trapped in the towers who chose to meet their fate and jump. What they would think of those who believe our fight on terror is somehow not worth it? About oil. About getting elected. The victims of 9/11 weren't asked to make the sacrifice they did but they somehow managed. Can we do less?

Lileks, of course, is far better at this sort of thing, and though his piece is now five years old, it's no less powerful and says all that really needs to be said:
Two years later I take a certain grim comfort in some people’s disinterest in the war; if you’d told me two years ago that people would be piling on the President and bitching about slow progress in Iraq, I would have known in a second that the nation hadn’t suffered another attack. When the precise location of Madonna’s tongue is big news, you can bet the hospitals aren’t full of smallpox victims. Of course some people are impatient with those who still recall the shock of 9/11; the same people were crowding the message boards of internet sites on the afternoon of the attacks, eager to blame everyone but the hijackers. They hate this nation. In their hearts, they hate humanity. They would rather cheer the perfect devils than come to the aid of a compromised angel. They can talk for hours about how wrong it was to kill babies, busboys, businessmen, receptionists, janitors, fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers - and then they lean towards you, eyes wide, and they say the fatal word:


And then you realize that the eulogy is just a preface. All that concern for the dead is nothing more than the knuckle-cracking of an organist who’s going to play an E minor chord until we all agree we had it coming.
Let's not end on that note. While Lileks goes on, I found this the best, most hopeful of his piece:
The world will not end. It will roll around in its orbit until Sol expires of famine or indigestion. In the end we’re all ash anyway - but even as ash, we matter.

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