I pulled up to the library for some new propaganda material, and the area around the municipal building was a mess of emergency vehicles. The road I typically turn on to was blocked by police cars and an ambulance, and there were many more down the road, along with some fire trucks and uniformed emergency officers. I parked on a road a bit away, and proceed into the library.
On my way out, they started the event. I wasn’t sure what was going on at first. We haven’t quite mastered the concept of actually speaking into microphones properly, so it was pretty difficult to hear what was going. Side note: please do NOT lower your normal speaking volume, and talk directly into the microphone. Technology is no excuse for poor diction or speaking skills!
It turned out to be my town’s 911 memorial. They had acquired a piece of metal from one of the towers, which was the center of the memorial. I’m normally the guy who wants nothing to do with these types of things; not because I’m against memorializing big events, but because we do such an atrocious job of memorializing, spout all sorts of nonsense, and commercialize it. I was feeling exploratory and open minded, so I stayed for the whole thing.
It was nice enough, but I was saddened slightly in ways I wasn’t expecting. First of all, I have vague memories of elementary/middle school. My mom was somewhat active in my hometown’s political happenings, especially the official town National Day of Prayer event. My experience was that this was a community event, which means kids from local schools sing, read things, etc. They started off the memorial with a singing of the national anthem…I was hoping/expecting for someone to be actually singing, but it was a recording. They played Taps, and I hoped for someone to be on a brass instrument nearby…this too was a prepackaged recording, as was “God Bless America” as they raised high the American flag, and closed out the proceedings with “Where Were You” (insert sad face here). The only thing live was the bagpipe players in the honor guard.
There was only perhaps 30-40 people in attendance, along with 50+ emergency officers in uniform standing in rank. From what I could hear, there were three people from my town who died during the events of 9/11, and apparently their wives “have to live 9/11 every day”. I would have preferred to hear from the wives as to how they are holding up after 10 years. Even after intense tragedy, life does move on, and people rebound in an amazing way.
One final thought: Separation of Church/State. The even opened with a prayer from a local priest, and ended with a prayer from a rabbi. A majority of Americans are religious, in one way or another. Most who do not attended a religious institution with any regularity still claim to believe in God. Some are against these sorts of religious demonstrations at politically sponsored events…I don’t know how you could have a community even without them. It should be a reflection of the people, and, regardless of my feelings on the subject, I believe it was.
Fair Lawn 911