It was a welter of words. The solipsisms of the anchors, telling us of their grief over a year’s time, how they really, really felt and repeating the cliched assurance that that day changed us forever without ever saying exactly how, in what way, and maundering on to the next mawkish self-conscious interview.
It was the decency of a President who spent an hour and a half with families in the ground zero circle, unself-consciously doing the right thing by those who had lost so much by hugging them, signing their cards. Later, from Ellis Island, he would repeat his hallucinatory belief that the passengers of flight 93 committed suicide by driving their plane into the ground rather than allowing it to fly to some unspecified target in Washington, D.C. Oh well, we must all have an illusion or two to make the date bearable at all.
The illusions must remain until we are sane enough to have a long, demythologized look at these events and study with cold eyes building codes, stress loads, insulation, emergency service communication. Later. For now we live with our illusions. And I could have borne the day were it not for Marianne.
At 17, Marianne Keane is a child of our time. She had a stepfather, Franco Lalama, an engineer for the Port Authority, who died in the attack. Strike that: was killed in the attack. Strike that too: was killed by the attackers. Miss Keane had written a posthumous farewell for her stepfather and she read it yesterday in that welter of images and words. I wish I hadn’t heard it. I also thank God I did.
“Franc,” this young woman wrote, “as I look back on these days, I realize how much I’ll truly miss you and how much I truly loved you. You were the best father I could ever ask for. I miss you and I hope you didn’t hurt too much. Love, Marianne.”
And there it was, stripping away all the euphemisms blowing in the dust of ground zero: I hope you didn’t hurt too much. Stark, honest, a realization reaching into the truth of the moment and wishing it not so. A young woman still child enough to speak a truth all had avoided and will continue to avoid in order to speak of it at all.
You broke my heart, Marianne. And for that I thank you.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online