Friday, September 2, 2011

9/11 Memorial Police Car Misses the Point

The tenth anniversary of the attacks of September 11, 2001 is almost upon us.  There will be much focus on that awful day with multiple tributes and retrospectives.  Locally, it began nearly six months ago when, in May, a suburb unveiled its 9/11 squad car (  The burning twin towers are on its hood, an American flag represented on its doors.

What are we saying when we spend thousands on a special squad car that lists the names of the dead and nothing on the affected human beings who are still with us and need our help?  What about the families of those who were killed? What about the survivors who are disabled or jobless?  What about the thousands of wounded soldiers returning home from a war that began on 9/11?  

September 11, 2001 was dreadful.  Like Pearl Harbor for the generations before us, 9/11 influences how we perceive and respond to the world around us. 

Nearly ten years have passed since that day.  What happens this year on that date will say much about who we are as individuals and as a country.  Will we focus on the loss or the gain?  Will those who died on 9/11 be proud of us or embarrassed by us?  How would they feel about what we say, think, and do all these years later?

The Discovery Channel recently aired a program about rebuilding at Ground Zero. One of the commercials urged me to donate funds to first responder charities. I couldn’t help thinking about all the money being spent on memorials around the country and wondering if those funds could be better used by the people most impacted by the attacks.

I fully support commemorating those who lost their lives on September 11. May the memorials and monuments do them justice.  As you watch the programs or read articles about that day, give some thought to what is being said.  Are we honoring the living or just the dead?

It’s about communicating.  Does a painted squad car send the right message?

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