I skipped all the coverage of the 9/11 commemorations today. The message seems to be “Never forget,” but what is it that we’re supposed to remember?
I remember 9/11 very well: the immediate realization, when the second plane hit, that this was no accident, the WTF moment when we heard the Pentagon was burning. I remember trying to get to WFMU to do my first show afterwards, and being turned back by NJ State Patrol officers until I figured out an alternate way into Jersey City. I remember insisting that Sluggo and Dog Baxter go with me to the station, because I did not want to be separated from them again … just in case. I don’t remember exactly what I said on that first show, but I know that one longtime Listener was so upset by it that I had the archive deleted. So now I never will know for sure, but I can’t imagine I expressed anything except bewilderment and deep anxiety.
I remember seeing TV news reports—with video—of the small plane coming from the west, hitting the west side of the second tower, the man with the British accent describing it to the female reporter as a small plane, like a Piper Cherokee or Dakota. I haven’t looked for that footage on the 9/11 Television News Archive because I suspect it’s not there.
Like the TV archive, lots of information is suddenly appearing on this 10th Anniversary: the Marine Major who was in the command bunker under the White House when Robotic Lord Vice-President Cheney gave the order to shoot down Flight 93. (But then the passengers crashed the plane, so they didn’t have to shoot it down after all. >Whew!<) The “eyewitness video of the Flight 93 crash site,” released only now that the anonymous videographer has died—shot from a hilltop 15 miles away and showing some smoke on the other side of faraway trees. The audio of all but a big missing 30-minute chunk of FAA and NORAD recordings made that morning. The FBI explaining that they simply forgot to tell anyone about the wealthy Saudi family who, shortly before 9/11, disappeared without a trace, leaving their luxury home and all their luxury belongings—except for a computer and the contents of a safe— after meetings with Mohammad Atta. Do you remember how no airplanes were allowed to fly for days after the attacks? Do you remember reports that President Bush made an exception for a planeload of wealthy Saudis who wanted to return home? Because I do. I remember that.
We are supposed to Never Forget, but there are also things we are never supposed to remember. The former “Freedom Tower” is now “One World Trade Center” because, says Chris Ward, director of the Port Authority, the name Freedom Tower would be likely to recall “painful memories of the 9/11 attacks.” So, never forget that we were attacked, but just make sure you remember those events in a way that’s not, you know, in any way uncomfortable for you. The Port Authority and Mayor Bloomberg are working hard to “rebrand” Ground Zero. It’s the World Trade Center now—and don’t you forget it.
Thanks for reading my blogpost this time, and may God bless.