Never Forgetting is to Always Remember

By Art Goodrich
I have started and stopped this blog a couple of times now.
The first time, there was too much anger. The second blog contained toomuch sarcasm.
Well; there are several reasons.
First of all, I struggle with calling an event that was filled with somuch pain, suffering, sorrow and sadness an “anniversary”.
But, many are referring to the tenth year since the 9/11 attacks as “thetenth anniversary of 9/11”.
Could we call it something else; something like “memorial” or“observance” or maybe “remembrance”?
I don’t know, but to me, we celebrateanniversaries and 9/11 doesn’t exactly put me into a celebratory mood. Iobserve 9/11 in my own way, but I don’t “celebrate” it. I will describe thatlater in this blog.
From what I am seeing and reading, 9/11 has been grossly politicized inevery sense.
From persistent accusations that our own government was somehowcomplicit to denying cancer benefits to those men and women who worked on ThePile in the days that followed the horrendous tragedy, even though medicalevidence proves linkage; our focus as a nation on those directly affected hasbeen lost.
Add to that our attorney general’s misguided notion of justice forterrorists to building a mosque near the Hallowed Grounds of the WTC and itonly perpetuates more suffering and sadness, instead of allowing affectedfamilies and friends to bring some sense of closure to such a senseless,violent act.
I realize that some will never bring closure to 9/11 and I understandand respect that. There are no set processes for how to deal with tragedy. Weall grieve differently. It is at a very personal and private level, so we can’ttell anyone how to deal with it, because it might be that, in their minds, manyquestions remain unanswered and always will.
And if it wasn’t already emotional and confusing enough, NYC MayorBloomberg announces first that clergy will not be included in the 9/11 ceremonynor will first responders. Their rightful place at the “official” ceremony hasbeen denied by the shameful act of a mayor who has no shame. It is politics atits ugliest and lowest form. I had hoped that Bloomberg would acquiesce, but atthis writing, he has not. His cowardly actions defy description.
Yet another reason for my angst as 9/11 approaches are the many “cottageindustries” that have grown out of 9/11.
A recent study described that much of the money raised after 9/11 in thename of 9/11 never made it to a “recognized” charity.
And we are supposed to be surprised by that revelation?
Though many of the charities could account for every dime taken in andspent, others could not. I know that the money that I helped to raise went frommy hand to the hand of an FDNY firefighter, so I have no doubts whatsoever thatit got into the right hands. But others weren’t so fortunate.
Anyone knows that where money is involved, corruption may find its wayinto the process and ten years later, it is still prevalent. It sickens me thatpredators would prey upon the emotional struggles of people who find itdifficult NOT to contribute money to what appears to be a charitable cause, butthey do.
Blame the tax codes, where anyone with the right tax form can claim“not-for-profit” status and rake in untold fortunes…until they are caught!
And in closing, I question the call by some to make 9/11 a national“holiday”.
Perhaps what they meant to say is that 9/11 should be a national day ofremembrance, much like Veterans’ Day. I’d be all for that.
But, I have the same problem with “holiday” as I have with“anniversary”. It simply leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
If you think about it, we already have Memorial Day. The President coulddecree that this would be the day to honor those lost on 9/11. It would be veryappropriate to do so. However; 9/11 could still be a day that our firstresponders could honor those who lost their lives on that day as well. I justdon’t think that it should be treated like a vacation day for the millions whowould take it.
In this tenth year since 9/11, much has gotten in the way of what shouldbe a solemn observance for those lost and for those who are still sufferingfrom the events of ten years ago.
There will be several ceremonies throughout the nation that you canattend, but if you can’t attend one, then remember 9/11 in your own way,because there is no right way or wrong way.
I will remember 9/11 by riding my motorcycle to Springfield, ILto the Illinois Firefighter Memorial. Next to that memorial is a beautiful,black granite memorial to 9/11. There will be no large gathering; just me andmy thoughts. It will be a time for personal reflection.
I will not have to sit in front of the TV and watch the hours and hoursof replays of that day.
It’s not because I can’t; it is because I don’t need to. The images ofthat day are forever seared into my soul and as long as I am alive, I willnever forget 9/11.
The opinions andviews expressed are those of the article’s author, Art Goodrich, who alsowrites as ChiefReason. They do not reflect the opinions and views of, Fire EngineeringMagazine, PennWell Corporation or his dog, Chopper. All articles by the authorare protected by federal copyright and cannot be reproduced in any form withoutexpressed permission.