I pulled up to the library for some newÂ propagandaÂ material, and the area around the municipal building was a mess of emergency vehicles. Â 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. Â I parked on a road a bit away, and proceed into the library.
On my way out, they started the event. Â I wasn’t sure what was going on at first. Â We haven’t quite mastered the concept of actually speaking into microphones properly, Â so it was pretty difficult to hear what was going. Â Side note: please do NOT lower your normal speaking volume, and talk directly into the microphone. Â Technology is no excuse for poor diction or speaking skills!
It turned out to be my town’s 911 memorial. Â They had acquired a piece of metal from one of the towers, which was the center of the memorial. Â 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. Â 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. Â First of all, I have vague memories of elementary/middle school. Â My mom was somewhat active in my hometown’s political happenings, especially the official town National Day of Prayer event. Â My experience was that this was a communityÂ event, which means kids from local schools sing, read things, etc. Â 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. Â 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). Â 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. Â 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”. Â I would have preferred to hear from the wives as to how they are holding up after 10 years. Â Even after intense tragedy, life does move on, and people rebound in an amazing way.
One final thought: Separation of Church/State. Â The even opened with a prayer from a local priest, and ended with a prayer from a rabbi. Â A majority of Americans are religious, in one way or another. Â Most who do not attended a religious institution with any regularity still claim to believe in God. Â Some are against these sorts of religious demonstrations at politically sponsored events…I don’t know how you could have a community even withoutÂ them. Â It should be a reflection of the people, and, regardless of my feelings on the subject, I believe it was.