The second anniversary of 9/11 will be marked appropriately with solemn ceremonies of remembrance. In a culture that worships the momentary, our fidelity to our fallen is heartening. What is less encouraging is that the remembrance of 9/11 seems overwhelmingly composed of mourning and loss, and very little comprised of national purpose, let alone anger.
A new documentary on A & E, Seven Days in September, is a good example. It is in many ways a gripping film, documenting the effects on the city during the first week of the attacks, and told (and often shot) through the eyes of ordinary citizens. There is memorable footage of citizens debating one another in Union Square, the historical hotbed of left-wing political activity in the city. Some of those in the crowd advocate aggressively hawkish responses to the attacks. (I never seem to be walking by when these New Yorkers are out. What neighborhoods are they hiding in?) But at no point do the citizens featured in the film express a desire for the United States to eradicate the terrorist menace. Their reflections focus instead on loss, fear, or the way their attitudes toward the city have changed. If you didn’t know what the subject was, you might think they were discussing an earthquake or some other natural disaster.
But 9/11 wasn’t a natural disaster, nor was it that most misused word, tragedy. It was an atrocity committed willfully and with great sophistication. Do we remember that part? Do we want to remember that part?
The World War I poet Siegfried Sassoon is renowned for his harrowing descriptions of the horrors and futility of war. Sassoon had good reason to decry the folly of the First World War, but like all poets his work can take on unexpected applications in different times and places. His poem “Aftermath,” like so many of his others, warns that if the Great War is forgotten, it will be repeated:p> em>Have you forgotten yet?… br> For the world’s events have rumbled on since those gagged days br> Like traffic checked while at the crossing of city-ways: br> And the haunted gap in your mind has filled with thoughts that flow br> Like clouds in the lit heaven of life; and you’re a man reprieved to go, br> Taking your peaceful share of Time, with joy to spare. br> But the past is just the same — and War’s a bloody game… br> Have you forgotten yet?… br> Look down, and swear by the slain of the War that you’ll never forget. /em>
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?