Friday, September 11, 2015

EXTRA: How quickly we forget!

I wasn’t planning on writing anything noting Friday’s date – 14 years since the day those airplanes got hijacked and flown into the World Trade Center and Pentagon – with another one intended for the Capitol missing because passengers managed to overpower the would-be hijackers.

One of few Ill. papers to do much w/ Friday front page
So much for what was supposed to be a statement in the name of the great Allah against the decadence of Western culture. What it really did was gave the Far Right in this country motivation to tell everyone else (for a while, at least) to just shut up and do what they told us to do.

FEAR OF WHAT we don’t understand has a way of bringing out our national sense of paranoia!

Some of us are going to never forget details of that day, and some of us are probably going to become grossly offended at the fact that not everyone around them is all whipped up into a pseudo-patriotic fury on this day.

Yet time does pass. Take the Washington Post, which reported on a new Census Bureau study that shows nearly one-quarter of the U.S. population these days either wasn’t born on Sept. 11, 2001 – or was so young that the day didn’t mean a thing to them, other than what they’ve been told about it since by their parents.

That percentage is only going to increase with the passage of time. Come the 25th anniversary of the event in 2026 (I suspect by then I’ll be pushed into news business retirement) we may be at a point where a slight majority of the country will think of the event as something they’ve seen news footage of – rather than as an actual event that took place in real life.

PERSONALLY, I STILL remember the paranoia of that morning some 14 years ago, when I was trying to get to the downtown offices of my employer United Press International, while many others were trying to flee the Loop out of fear that Chicago was the next target.

Remembering target that wasn't hit
I also recall the sight of police riding around downtown on motorcycles with lights and sirens flashing; to discourage anyone who thought this might be the time to start looting.

Then, there was the sense of abandonment later in the afternoon – after all those people had fled and the Loop was a ghost town for the day.

But I’m sure there also will be some kids who will hear such stories, and wonder when I’ll shut up and talk about something interesting – something like Justin Bieber, or perhaps all those lesbians that Howard Stern always likes to talk about.

IT’S GOING TO get even worse in the future. Probably like one of my older Facebook friends who posted a note earlier this week complaining that there wasn’t a lot of remembrance of the fact that the Second World War officially ended 70 years ago.

“I guess too busy posting bull shit. No respect for their fathers,” he wrote.

How long until the day comes when something similar is written about the day when most of us got a half-day off of work because everybody was afraid the next out-of-control jetliner might be headed for the (then-still) Sears Tower?

Or worse, becomes so long ago that nobody remembers – just like I doubt most people could tell you what exactly was being talked about when people used to say, “Remember the Maine!”


EDITOR’S NOTE: Following is the official proclamation made Friday by Gov. Bruce Rauner to mark the significance of the date.

WHEREAS, on September 11, 2001, tragedy unfolded on American soil as four commercial airlines were hijacked by terrorists and began a journey of destruction; and,

WHEREAS, at 8:46 a.m. (EST), American Airlines Flight 11, carrying 92 people, struck the north tower of the World Trade Center in New York City; and,

WHEREAS, at 9:03 a.m. (EST), United Airlines Flight 175, carrying 65 people, flew into the south tower of the World Trade Center; and,

WHEREAS, at 9:37 a.m. (EST), American Airlines Flight 77, carrying 64 people, hit the western façade of the Pentagon in Washington D.C.; and,

WHEREAS, at 10:03 a.m. (EST) further loss of life was prevented when passengers and crew members heroically crashed United Airlines Flight 93 into a field in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, killing all those on board; and,

WHEREAS, nearly 3,000 innocent men, women and children were tragically killed in the heinous attacks; and,

WHEREAS, tens of thousands emergency personal including firefighters, police officers and military personnel came to the aid to help their fellow man, including volunteers from across the country; and,

WHEREAS, in the aftermath of these horrendous acts, the United States of America bound together with courage and resolve and emerged more united as a people; and,

WHEREAS, on November 30, 2001, after passing the United States House and Senate, President George W. Bush proclaimed September 11 as Patriot Day, a day of remembrance and national mourning; and,

WHEREAS, the day of September 11 will forever be etched in the memory and hearts of all Americans; the victims will never be forgotten, and the heroism displayed by first responders, service men and women, and countless Americans who aided in humanitarian relief efforts and search and rescue operations will serve as a lasting model for all; and

THEREFORE, I, Bruce Rauner, Governor of the State of Illinois, do hereby proclaim September 11, 2015, as PATRIOT DAY in Illinois, and order all persons or entities governed by the Illinois Flag Display Act to fly their flags at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on this day, in honor and remembrance of the heroes of September 11, 2001, and all of those who lost their lives.

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