Tuesday, September 11, 2007

9/11 Memorials

It seems that you need two of the following three things in order to properly memorialize 9/11 these days:
1. Small American flags, preferable a lot of them.
2. A moment of silence, most likely not related to the time of any significant event; 0911 seems to be a time that people find relevant.
3. A slogan such as "We Remember."

Now, don't get me wrong, these are all fine things. American flags are always a welcome addition to places like college campuses, where they are rarely seen. I'd prefer we pointed out that the flag still flies for freedom, despite the attempt to destroy that. A moment of silence is a fine way to reflect on the lives lost and the reminder that freedom must be preserved, even if the cost is high. It'd be nice if we tried to have it at a more meaningful time (0911 just seems a little hokey to me). And, of course, an easily remembered slogan helps keep it on everyone's mind. It also trivializes it a bit.

Problem is, it has become meaningless. We are now to remember it as a meaningless tragedy. These memorials memorialize the lives lost as though they were lost in some sort of natural disaster. Even with the tiny American flags, people just mourn the lives lost on that day.

It's bigger than that. I'm not trying to trivialize a single one of those lives, but it's far larger than the number of lives lost that day. Terrorism remains a real threat to democracy and Muslim extremism still threatens Western ideals. We should remember 9/11 with both sadness and anger. Those lives weren't just lost--they were brutally snatched up by those terrorists and the groups that sacrificed the terrorists in their war on Western civilization.

My heart still goes out to those who lost loved ones. It must be terribly difficult to be reminded by all the memorials each year. I truly cannot imagine the pain you go through. But I'm sure many of you still burn with righteous anger toward those to blame for the tragedy, as we all should. These memorials would mean a lot more if we acknowledged that part of it. We need to remember that these Muslim extremists declared war on not just the US, but freedom. And they were willing to kill all these innocent people in their war. There's room for a little anger with the sadness.

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