Local Spin: All Remembering
A few days and opportunities to pay tribute to 9/11 victims.
Thursday, September 8, 2011
A few local papers have been asking readers to send in their 9/11 stories for weeks now, memories and pictures that will be cobbled together into story packages to help note one of the most notable dates in history. Ten years gone since that terrible September morning when many of us on the West Coast woke to the news that thousands of people merely going about their day had been murdered, and then a little more slowly woke to the realization that much of what we knew about the world had been forever changed.
They killed the flight attendants to get the pilots to open the cockpit doors. They killed the pilots to take control of the planes. They turned the planes into missiles, used the missiles loaded with terrified human cargo to crash into the buildings, to kill the workers inside and then to kill the firemen and police officers who were doing what firemen and police officers do best in chaotic situations – ride to the rescue.
Of course I remember where I was. I was asleep. I had a few more minutes to go under the covers, the house still quiet because my first-grader hadn’t yet woken up his baby brother (or vice versa). Soon the alarm would go off and the chaos of my day would begin. Breakfasts to make, lunch to pack, one small boy to take to school, one small boy to entertain and a handful of freelance writing assignments to juggle in between everything else. But then the phone rang at about 6:20am.
I spent the day crying. And likely, so did you. I cried on the way to school. I looked at a pickup truck stopped next to me at a red light, and the guy driving it was crying. For a day or two, we were united in this great spasm of grief. In many ways, it seems we haven’t been united like that since.
THERE’S NO MENTION OF ANYTHING PARTISAN IN ANY OF THESE EVENTS. NO REPUBLICANS, NO DEMOCRATS, NO ANYTHING ELSE.
There will be a lot of opportunities for Central Coasters to come together in the next few days. Beginning Friday and lasting through the weekend, Community Hospital’s Blood Center will hold a multi-location, mobile blood drive. Check out www.chomp.org/ways-to-give/blood-center for times and locations. On Sunday, the Interfaith Outreach of Carmel plans a “Peace Fest,” with 45 minutes of music and speaking, at Carmel High School’s Football Field. On Saturday, Temple Beth El and Palma High School will hold a joint memorial service beginning at 7pm at the temple, 1212 Riker St., Salinas. On Sunday, the Salinas Fire Department will hold a memorial ceremony at Fire Station 1 (visit http://salinasfirefighters.com for more information) while a procession of emergency vehicles will leave the Marina Airport at 2pm and travel to St. Jude’s Parish for a 2:30pm service. The Monterey 9/11 Heroes Run, a 5K race starting at Eight Avenue and Gigling Road on the former Fort Ord, starts at 9am. While registration for the race was due to close on Wednesday night, there’s no reason you can’t go and cheer the runners if you’re so inclined. Check www.911heroesrun.com for more details.
There’s no mention of anything partisan in any of these events. No Republicans, no Democrats, no anything else. Maybe it’s just a day or two where we can set that aside and seek some greater meaning in the shared tragedy.
The American essayist, erstwhile Republican and former Grateful Dead lyricist John Perry Barlow, founder of the digital rights organization Electronic Frontier Foundation, was a blogger before many people knew the meaning of the word. Within hours after the attacks, he wrote a short essay that posted to the early blogging collaborative Boing Boing and implored people to fear nothing and live free. So many other early bloggers chimed in as well, and a list of posts can be found in the archives of seminal blogger Jason Kottke’s kottke.org. But perhaps Barlow put it best.
“Nothing could serve those who believe that American ‘safety’ is more important than American liberty better than something like this. Control freaks will dine on this day for the rest of our lives,” Barlow wrote. He urged readers to take action that day, by writing public officials, joining the ACLU or the EFF, taking to the streets and living fearless lives to “prevent the spasm of control mania from destroying the dreams that far more have died for over the last 225 years than died this morning.”
Remember, he wrote, the goal of terrorism is to create paralytic totalitarianism in the government it attacks. Don’t give them the satisfaction.
I don’t think they quite achieved that goal. But at times, it’s certainly been a close call.
MARY DUAN is the Weekly’s editor. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.