Papers, radios, and even blogs have overflowed with stories recounting the events in New York of September 11, 2001.
Not here. There is nothing for me to add, no perspective unexplored. I don’t need help to remember what happened on September 11, 2001.
Indeed, I have done my best to avoid the issue–not to avoid my memories, distant as they are from the memories of those who were there, for my memories came at a distance: from watching the live television coverage in my company’s cafeteria along with a goodly number of my co-workers; from later stepping into the smoking area at the back door of the building and hearing no airplanes, though the building was about two miles from Philadelphia International Airport; from my mail carrier’s worries about his sister, whose fate he did not learn for five days; from other events large and small.
I contemn the efforts of both “old” and “new” media over the past two weeks to thrust those events upon me from all directions in macabre and tasteless ways, like someone describing the procedure for a post mortem to mourners at a funeral.
Lynne Steuerle Schofield put it quite nicely in the Denver Post earlier this week:
Here’s the other side, though, for me anyway: Sometimes I feel I am asked to attend my mother’s funeral again and again, year after year.
And, throughout, the maudlin repetitious media mewling has missed the most important part of the story.
My contempt ripened and matured last week, when I saw this on the screen of my friendly local silicon-hearted ATM machine:
The creation of that, and of all the other similar empty gestures of the past two weeks, that’s when remembrance crossed into hollow pandering.