The tenth anniversary of 9/11 was a significant one. With ‘that day’ still fresh in our minds, yet at the same time thirty six hundred or so days ago, we now have a chance to look at the time since 9/11 with enough perspective to have some sense of how things are playing out.
For many years the lack of progress at the 9/11 site was a source of frustration. What did it say about us that we couldn’t rebuild something there? Now, we can now look to a nearly completed new single World Trade Center Tower as a sign of achievement. The building is in an entirely new entity of its own. It really remains to be seen if New Yorkers will come to embrace the new tower the way they once did the twin towers, but it is definitely something significant that has been built to replace what once was.
It was of great importance to see the twin fountains memorial on the World Trade Center site. This honors the 2753 or so lives that were lost on 9/11, and it was special to see Presidents Obama and Bush there together to help dedicate the site, making it a non partisan show of unity for the country. To have a physically completed monument, on the sites of both the original twin towers, as well as in Shanksville PA, is an important representation of both our desire to pay homage to the lives that were lost and our ability to build something to represent them.
The fact that this September 11th came on a Sunday and not a weekday seemed to give the day added importance. There have been some 911 anniversaries in years past that have gotten less notice, because they fell on weekdays. We had more time to reflect and give this one its just due. More of us could watch the ceremonies at the World Trade Center site. I am concerned that future 9/11’s, the ones that fall on weekdays, will not get the attention they should.
With that in mind I believe the date which now shapes our consciousness more than any other should be made a national holiday. On Sunday we collectively shared the moments of silence of when the planes hit, the buildings collapsed, and of the names of those who perished. It would mean a little more to us, if we could stay home to honor them. One thing more clear now than before is how important this day is. I think a national holiday is something that should be considered as we look forward to future remembrances.
The fact that there has been no major terrorist attack on our soil in these ten years is a monument to 911 in and of itself. We refer to this era as post 9/11, but the truth is the terrorist environment changed long before that date. The World Trade Center was first bombed in 1993, the USS embassies in Kenya and Tanzania bombed in 1998, the Cole in 2000. 911 wasn’t the day the world changed, it was the day we became aware of it. All too often in the past we would underestimate the threats, we have not made that mistake since.
One source of strife for the day came from Major League Baseball who did not allow the New York Mets to wear first responder hats. Joe Torre speaking on the part of major league baseball said that it wouldn’t be consistent with what other major league baseball teams wore for the day. All I can say to the Mets and Torre is, you now have about 360 days before the next 911 to work this out and come up with something better. Figure it out and don’t let this happen again, we all are supposed to be on the same team.
Overall the ceremonies before the games played on 911 were well put together and very moving. In general it can be said that as a nation we came together this year, just as we did ten years ago. There have been many issues upon which we have not all agreed, but protecting our country and honoring 911 has not been one of them. If the loss of life ten years ago can be said to have stood for something, I think we did a pretty good job of showing it on 9/11/11.