|The view from my workplace today, looking towards New Jersey. A crystalline day--a lot like the day of 11 years ago|
As I rode my bike onto campus, I spied a male senior citizen wearing a jumpsuit imprinted with the American flag--it was a crazy-ass outfit. He also carried--on a pole--a US flag as big as a bedspread. I was amused--and tried to snap a photo--but I also annoyed.
I hate how 9/11 has become a largely jingoistic commemoration. It became that almost as soon as the towers fell. Yes, it was a terrible, horrible tragedy orchestrated by completely crazy people who needed to be brought to justice, but Bush co-opted our collective grief to start two (in my humble opinion) unnecessary wars (essentially becoming a war criminal) which killed and wounded far more civilians (and soldiers) than died on 9/11, which is why I hate the way we commemorate it. What happened had world-wide repercussions. It wasn't just us.
It's rarely only us.
And don't get me wrong. I'm touched by the tributes, the flowers outside of firehouses, the plaques--these are good and necessary things--but I was annoyed, on the way home from work, when I noticed the Empire State Building was lit up red, white and blue.
I was here, downtown, on 9/11/01. I was 7.5 months pregnant with my second kid. I had an almost three-year-old who was supposed to attend preschool orientation that morning. We never made it. I was way too distracted by the tumult around me. Too concerned. (Granted, it could have been a lot worse for me that day. I knew no one personally who was directly affected.) I wasn't sure what would happen next. It was disconcerting and surreal. And I knew--I KNEW (I remember walking down Avenue A thinking this)--that Bush would use the event to start an unnecessary and protracted war--a war that's still with us. I was depressed about my second kid being in a world like that. I still am.
So instead of people, politicians, whomever, pronouncing "God bless America" on this day (or at the close of convention speeches) what I really need them to say is "God bless the world." Because I'm convinced that's what God would love to be asked instead.