It’s Time To Get Over 9-11
September 11, 2012 14 Comments
It’s a beautiful sunny day this morning, much the same as it was eleven years ago today when Islamic terrorists hijacked four planes. We all know the result of their terrorism, the World Trade Center was destroyed and the Pentagon was attacked. Thankfully the fourth plane was forced to crash in a field in Pennsylvania. There is no doubt that the 9-11 attacks have had a profound impact on the American people and on our politics. But the question has to be asked, why are we remembering this event eleven years after it happened? Why can’t we as a nation let 9-11 go to the history books, why must we relive this event every September?
I don’t intend to be callous in asking these questions. Have we stopped to ask ourselves why exactly we need to remember this event year after year as though it is some sort of religious ritual? Maybe we remember it on the 10th, 15th or 25th anniversaries but the 11th? Facebook is full of photos from the attacks, all the news networks have devoted at least some time to the anniversary. No doubt the History Channel will replay their docudrama for the umpteenth time. Perhaps the History Channel is where 9-11 belongs. It is after all history. It isn’t news, its anniversary isn’t news. Nothing about 9-11 is news, except perhaps the endless bickering over what to do with the site.
Why do we allow ourselves to get emotional about a day which happened 11 years ago? We need to have a little bit of perspective here. On December 7th 1952 did anyone in the country obsess over the 11th anniversary of Pearl Harbor? On the 11th anniversary of JFK’s assassination did anyone even acknowledge it? These two events had a profound impact on the people living at those times but those people put these events in their proper place, they allowed them to become history. What is it about Americans today that we cannot let go of 9-11? We cannot allow this event to become what it is: History.
We’ve become a coddled and narcissistic society which is far different than what our nation was like in 1941 and 1963. The end of the Cold War fooled a lot of people into thinking that nothing bad could ever happen to us again. Obviously that wasn’t the case, 9-11 is sufficient evidence of that. We weren’t safe, we’re not safe today and we’ll never be safe from evil. As a nation we foolishly believed otherwise and we continue to foolishly believe that pat downs of grandma’s and infringements on civil liberties will somehow make us safe. We’re coddled.
We’re also a nation of narcissists. Everything that happens to us is special, even evil that happens to us. We’ve turned 9-11 into an annual self absorbed religious festival wherein we all recount what we were doing and what we did on that date. We don’t really mourn those who died, we didn’t know them or care about them. Instead we’re proud to have been alive and doing something when history was made. In 2008 many of us were disturbed by the Obama supporters desire to “make history.” We really shouldn’t have been surprised. As a nation, we’re so proud of ourselves for having been part of history on 9-11. As though major events are what make us important as individuals.
We’ve become a collective, the left has won. Our narcissism is really a collective narcissism. It’s not really about us individually, even though individual experiences play a role. It’s about being part of a collective experience. Very few events can shape us in the form of a collective, a massive terrorist attack can because it’s something we all suffer together. In our 9-11 obsession, we haven’t done the right thing which is to forget about 9-11 and move on with life. Instead, we trot this day out every year and make a big deal over it. But it isn’t a big deal anymore, it didn’t happen last year or even two years ago. This an 11 year old historical event. As a nation we need to get over it, move on and stop remembering it every single year. If the nation won’t do it, then we must do it individually.