September 12th, 2011


Poem for Monday and Post-Storm Great Falls

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I spent the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, like so many Americans, catching news clips and retrospectives during the breaks in football games. I don't like the fact that I've been pressured to feel guilty about this, particularly since the demands that I Pay Proper Attention came largely from the anchors and commentators of those events, all of whom have a financial interest in my guilt. I don't like the endless recitations of "Never Forget"; there is no chance that I will ever forget, nor, I imagine, that any adult American who was not living under a rock that day will ever forget, and I'm not comfortable with everything that goes along with that exhortation -- the fact that, at the time, the calls to remember were linked to demands for vengeance which led to a war that had nothing to do with the attacks and a growing police state mentality that has allowed censorship and restricted freedoms in the name of homeland security.

I can't muster what I've been told is the proper patriotic mood. I honor the survivors and the families of those who died in the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, the people aboard UA Flight 93 who chose to save lives by giving up their own, and the first responders who were ready to do the same only to be disinvited from the festivities today and to find that in many cases they don't even have coverage for health care. It isn't that I don't feel for all the people directly and indirectly affected by the attacks, and it isn't that I don't believe many of us are suffering some form of PTSD related to the attacks. It's that I can't bear the hypocrisy of having it suggested by every hypemonger and profiteer and bigot that anyone who didn't spend the day in grief and rage must be a bad American.

Adam had a nice thing happen related to the day: a photo that he took of the Statue of Liberty and posted to deviantArt months ago was chosen as a Daily Deviation. He has gotten a lot of views not only for that photo, which he doesn't think is one of his best, but for others as well. We took him to Great Falls after lunch to see what the Potomac River looked like after all the rain dumped on the area by Hurricanes Irene and Lee -- it was impressively high, though safely within its banks, and the bridges to Olmsted Island were open though water was flowing swiftly beneath all of them. The little shells that usually wash up near the river were strewn throughout the woods of the island.

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We got home in time to watch the Ravens win their season opener against the Steelers by a big margin, which was delightful, and then (even though I was trying to sort photos and not pay attention) we watched the Redskins surpass expectations and beat the Giants. After staying up late to watch the Michigan-Notre Dame game last night, I thought I would be footballed out, but the Jets-Cowboys game has actually been terrific and I guess the announcers are out of somber quotes about 9/11 to insert into their commentary because they're not even pretending to be interested in anything but penalty flags and turnovers and last-minute first downs.