Monday, September 11, 2006

Remembering the good times

Memory can be a tricky thing for drunks, the mentally challenged and Alzheimer’s patients. But for the rest of the U.S. citizenry –and especially those from Manhattan –remembering the day when two planes slammed into the World Trade Center is pretty darn easy.

In fact, there are very few people out there who don’t remember with explicit detail where they were on that fateful morning when the first plane struck; catching a bagel at the corner coffee shop, driving to work, playing a few holes of golf with friends, or in the case of Schenectady native Michael Canty, sitting in the Cantor Fitzgerald office on the 92nd floor of Tower One, unaware that a jet liner was on it’s way to end his life.

No, it’s fair assumption that the Canty family will, as some jingoistic bumper stickers boast, “never forget” the tragedy that occurred five years ago. And how could they with the wall-to-wall media coverage on every channel and in every newspaper around the nation?

Some didn’t even bother waiting for the anniversary to start “remembering” 9-11. The Times Union launched its exclusive coverage a day early, that is excluding the lead-in articles they wrote all week. On the local networks, News 10 and News 13 both launched their “don’t forget to remember” coverage on Sunday, along with Governor Protractor and President Bush, who both took a moment by the reflecting pool at Ground Zero to anticipate their remembrance; the list of copycat media outlets and hackneyed politicians goes on at infinitum.

Then there was the contribution of Hollywood, which has the ghastly honor of making bank on this horrible day. First, there was Flight 93, a bogus this-is-what-we-think-happened motion picture to rewrite with cinematic glory the doomed flight that crashed in Pennsylvania. Following that, there wa Nick Cage’s World Trade Center, and now, ABC’s speculative television series, The Path to 9-11. All for-profit ventures looking to make a buck off the death of thousands.

What these media sources fail to understand is that remembering is not reliving. Yes, any dolt who’s lived in the U.S. since the day the skies stood still could tell you, the country has changed dramatically; while this is indeed, blisteringly obvious, it is not anything new. Actually, it's a news story that is about five years old now and precisely why the nation must move on now.

Take the Canty family for instance. As aforementioned, they’ll never forget their son or the tragedy that took his life. What they decline to do publicly, however, is to relive the gut-wrenching pain they were stung with after his death. Instead, they focus on the happy times they had with their son by throwing a gigantic barbeque and invite all of his friends to gather for a moment of happiness in his name.

More importantly, the family builds on his memory each year by providing a deserving high school grad with a scholarship, so that he or she can be one step closer to being successful in life. So for every year of painful memories, the Canty family can find solace in bringing joy to at least one student, if not hundreds of others who cared for their son.

The media and government could learn a lot from this family. Still today, a gaping hole remains where the towers once stood; both the federal and state governments won’t go a week without harkening back to the fear and mayhem that percolated on that day. And the media moguls, they eat it up with a big fat spoon.

So here’s a tip for the 10-year anniversary, or even the “silver” anniversary. Instead of making September 11th a day of national misery, make it a day of national conciousness and pride; tutor a struggling student, conduct a selfless act of public service, gather with the extended family and at the end of the day, tip a glass in memory of the brilliant lives that were cut short; remember them fondly.

But rewinding the tape to watch the fireball smash through the side of a national symbol at infinitum is only a good practice to dwell on a misery. And misery is never a good emotion to build upon in this fear-ladened modern age.

1 Comments:

Blogger Mr. Friendly said...

Well done i.

6:02 PM  

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