Tuesday, September 11, 2012

How do we remember...

It is hard to imagine.  As I heard of the remembrance events in Afghanistan planned for the 9-11 anniversary today, I was shocked as the media person reminded us that many of the soldiers serving there were as young as 7 years old when the twin towers fell, the Pentagon was hit, and the plan went down in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.  How time passes and yet how fresh the wounds!

It brings to mind the ongoing debate about how to remember 9-11.  Some believe that the day should be a federal holiday, the likes of Memorial Day or Veterans (nee Armistice) Day.  Others believe that there should be no formal remembrance at all.  I admit to being conflicted on this point.  On the one hand, the more we set aside federal holidays for special causes, the less significant those days and the easier it is to forget what they mean.  Take Memorial Day, for example.  Whom do we remember on Memorial Day?  It has become more a generic day of remembrance of all dead than the day we remember the members of the Armed Forces who gave their lives to protect our freedom.  What is the meaning of Veterans Day?  Major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 with the German signing of the Armistice.  Then, in 1945, WWII veteran Raymond Weeks from Birmingham, Alabama had the idea to expand Armistice Day to celebrate all veterans.  On June 1, 1954, Armistice Day became Veterans Day.  By a joint resolution approved December 18, 2001 (Public Law 107-89), the Congress has designated September 11 of each year as “Patriot Day,” and by Public Law 111-13, approved April 21, 2009, the Congress has requested the observance of September 11 as an annually recognized “National Day of Service and Remembrance."  I am not exactly sure this has the same force as a full fledged holiday but there we have it.

We have no days specific to events -- Memorial Day encompasses all the members of the military who died in service to their country and Veterans Day includes the veterans of all the wars and of all service to the Armed Forces of the US.  That leads me to think that we should not have a specific day for the terrible events of  9-11 and yet a few moments of silence on the actual day and at the actual time the attacks began seems to pale in comparison to the radical impact these events have had upon the life of our country and the lives of soldiers and citizens.

Just something to think about as we pause to remember....


Anonymous said...

More on 9/11 and the Middle East:


LCB said...

A very moving remembrance captured in the photo,
two light beams instead of towers.

Then and Now, August 2001 and nearly 11 years later, photo: