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On the 9/11 Anniversary, Dignity be Damned
August 31, 2002
By Mike McArdle

I think it would be nice if we could just acknowledge the anniversary of September 11 with some quiet dignified ceremonies in deference to the 3000 people who lost their lives that day because they went to work in the wrong place on the wrong day at the wrong time? And wouldn't it be good to keep things low key so as not to rip the scab off the survivors who've had to put their lives back together in the past year? Of course it would but dignity be damned. As the anniversary approaches you can tell that the date and the poor people who died or lost their loved ones that day are going to be exploited for absolutely everything they're worth.

I got an e-mail this week offering to sell me September 11 commemorative coins. They were only $14.95 a piece or you could buy wood or metal display cases with all the coins if you willing to part with $80 or more. Each featured 9/11 patriotic images of cops, firemen, the World Trade Center, Pentagon etc. One featured a fireman and a soldier with the now ubiquitous phrase “Let's Roll.” I had to wonder if they had cleared that with the people at the Todd Beamer Foundation who have trademarked the phrase.

Lisa Beamer was on the Larry King show for what seemed like the gazillionth time last Friday night. I'm glad to say that I was able to divert my attention to a pre-season football game and managed to miss Lisa's latest exercise in televised bereavement. But I did visit Lisa's website a few days later. While you're there you can purchase Lisa's book (entitled, of course, “Let's Roll” and published, by the sheerest coincidence I'm sure, just in time for the anniversary). Lisa wrote her inspirational tome with a co-author named Ken Abraham (and I'm sure he couldn't have done it without her). Or you can buy a book by various authors that has a forward by Lisa. Or you can visit the Let's Roll store. They have it all there - Let's Roll T-shirts for $10, Let's Roll polo shirts for $30, Let's Roll caps for $15 and the Beamer Foundation windshirt for $55 (limited quantity on these so you'd better get your order in). But even if you don't want to buy Lisa's stuff you can still contribute to the Beamer Foundation by using your credit card online or sending a check or even making a stock transfer.

So we're actually going to do this one more time. As if we all hadn't been absolutely bombarded with September 11 images and interviews and speeches for the past year we are now going to “commemorate” one of the ugliest events in American history with tacky coins and visits with America's favorite TV widow. But, of course, it's not going to end there. There's more than money in those dead Americans. There are political points to score as politicians, some of whom are running for reelection this fall who see this as a golden opportunity to get their faces in front of TV cameras.

Pundits are also getting into the act. The Washington Times published an absurd denunciation of the National Educational Association as being insufficiently 9/11 sensitive by publishing possible lessons plans for teachers to use that day on its web site. Finding one link among many that suggested that teachers not allow students to blame all Arab-Americans for the deaths or pin the blame on any fellow students the Rev. Moon's paper screamed that the NEA was trying to blame America for 9/11 and absolve the real terrorists. The charge was shown to be completely untrue but it also showed that we've descended in one year to having political groups trying to make 9/11 their own. It's no longer a tragedy for all Americans.

Rudy Giuliani, Mr. 9/11 himself, will undoubtedly be battling the widow Beamer for air time as he once again recounts his activities while the city was under siege (I suspect Rudy will leave out the part where he attempted to use the tragedy to stay in office).

And, of course, the little man who benefited the most from 9/11 will be pointed in the direction of three different podiums in three different cities where he will read from cue cards containing words that he didn't write and barely understands. He'll utter some of the same tired platitudes about the evildoers who hate freedom and how we have to renew our dedication to oppose them. The little fool will certainly slip in a pitch or two for the war he wants to start in Iraq but will undoubtedly fail to mention that in the past year he hasn't found any of the evildoers and so his crusade against terrorism in 12 months has produced little more than a succession of empty speeches telling us how he's against it. But it will just be so nice to hear him tell us all once again that he's a committed opponent of the “terraists.” Thanks for sharing, little man.

On September 11,2002 we're going to acknowledge 3000 tragic deaths with a veritable orgy of greed, self-promotion and political exploitation. So I suggest that we all try to find a sporting event or old movie to enjoy that day. And don't worry if on the 12th you feel like you might have missed something. We'll probably do the all the same things on September 11, 2003.

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