Friday, September 11, 2009

Pimping 9/11

You have read that your president has decreed this day in history, September 11, to be a National Day of Service. And remembrance of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.

We sit at this moment watching the names of the victims of the attacks on the World Trade Centers being read in remembrance of them. We notice that the names are read by pairs of readers. On your right, as you watch, a relative of a victim reads. The relative reads the name, and finishes with a comment about how hurt they are at the loss of their loved one. It's a bit vain, because, after all, remembrance is about the victim, not the survivors.

But the real offense comes from the individual on your left. When they're done reading the names of the victims, the announce proudly that they are "honored to be here on behalf of" some volunteer organization. For example, somebody from "Elders Receive the Arts" just read some names.

What on earth are these "volunteers" doing here, since they haven't lost anybody? And why is the world forced to hear about their "volunteer organizations?" That's easy. They're pimping the president's agenda, on a day that's supposed to be sacred.

How does that make you feel? Even somebody who lost nobody on September 11, 2001 might find the hijacking of the memory of the victims in this way disconcerting. We wonder how it will make those who did lose somebody feel, to have the memory of their loved ones used to promote a political agenda that is wholly unrelated to the events of September 11, 2001.
If you cannot "exploit the crisis," you can at least exploit its memory.


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