I set up a blog back in 2013.
The name of my blog is “Here Are Five Good Reasons Why…” My last entry was over three years ago, and was called “Here Are Five Good Reasons Why Aruba Is Awesome.”
That should give you some idea of what a serious blog it was - back when I was actually writing it.
I’m not entirely sure why I stopped writing it, but at the same time, I stopped working on the novel I was writing as well. Laziness? Severe writer’s block? Lack of ideas? Maybe a combination of all of those.
Well, this week I was inspired to write again. And, since this blog is already set up….
This weekend, my husband and I visited NYC. We used to go every summer, to see a Yankees/Red Sox game. We haven’t done that in ages.
The main reasons for this visit were to see a show (The Fab Faux at the Beacon Theater – I could easily think of five good reasons to see them whenever and wherever they play) and to see some friends (again – there are at least five good reasons to see these folks, they’re pretty great).
But we also decided to visit the 9/11 memorial and museum.
To say it’s moving is the understatement of the century. I won’t say everyone should see it. I saw a lot of young kids there, with their parents, and I am not convinced it’s appropriate for most kids. I would also imagine that, if you lost a relative, a spouse, a close friend, on 9/11, you might not want to relive that horror. And, of course, if you’re one of those idiots who thinks 9/11 (or Sandy Hook, for that matter) was a “hoax”….don’t bother going. You have no heart or soul, no brain, so the experience would be wasted on you.
I wasn’t really sure how I would react to the experience. Outside of the museum there are two bronze memorials built on the original site of the two towers. The memorials are reflecting pools, each over an acre in size, with manmade waterfalls. Engraved on them are the names of every single person who lost their life that day, at the World Trade Center, at the Pentagon, and at Shanksville, PA, as well as the six people killed in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
The first thing I felt looking at and touching these was an immense and overwhelming sadness. I would imagine this is the normal reaction of visitors.
But this is my blog, and the blog is called “Here Are Five Good Reasons Why…”
So here are five good reasons why the 9/11 memorial and museum made me angry. In fact, it made me very angry. Furious, in fact.
Obviously, the fact that it exists should be enough to elicit anger. 9/11/01 was the darkest day in the history of the USA, or at least the darkest of my lifetime. We were attacked by terrorists. They killed almost 3,000 people. That thing that happened in other countries, to other people, had happened here. Life would never be the same for any of us.
I mentioned those striking bronze memorials. If you can believe it, we witnessed a number of people taking “selfies” in front of those memorials. Those who didn’t take “selfies” had others take their photos. Standing in front of those reflecting pools, with the names of the victims engraved on them.
Many of these people were smiling, even laughing, in much the same way one might smile and pose in front of a famous building, or a well-known statue. It made me sick.
As you probably guessed, the museum itself is dedicated to the victims and survivors of the attacks. There are tons of artifacts and photos. None of it is light or entertaining. It’s all pretty somber. And maybe the most subdued exhibit is the room containing photographs of every single person who died that day (and in 1993). Just looking at those photos made me so angry and filled with sadness, I could barely stand it.
But that wasn’t quite enough. I managed to locate the photo of Susan Leigh Blair. I knew Sue. She was a client of mine, back in the late 90’s. We worked on several large accounts together, and had lunch more than once. We had the same off the wall sense of humor, which helped when we were stressed.
At the same time that I moved from one insurance company to another, Sue, who had worked for a large insurance broker in Boston, made a change, too. She left the insurance industry and moved home to New York state. She wasn’t sure what she wanted to do, but she didn’t think it would involve insurance anymore. She moved in with her family, to decide what she wanted to do. We promised to stay in touch. We didn’t. Typical, it happens all the time.
I didn’t know Sue had died until months later, when a mutual acquaintance mentioned that there was going to be a memorial mass for her in Boston. That was when I learned that she had returned to the insurance industry, and had taken a job with Marsh McLennan in Manhattan. At One World Trade Center. She was newly engaged to be married. But she didn’t make it out of the building.
So, yeah, that made me angry, too. Angry that she had returned to insurance, and had lost her life because of it. Angry that she had just gotten engaged. Just angry that she had died, along with all of those other innocent people.
So there are four good reasons.
You want to know the fifth? The fifth is the reason I am writing this. It’s a little more complicated.
The various exhibits and artifacts include a lot of footage of news coverage. It’s fascinating to watch. But I began to notice something that filled me with rage.
In all of the coverage, we saw people from all walks of life. We saw black, brown and white, men and women, old and young. We saw blue collar and white collar workers. We saw businessmen and businesswomen, and we saw fire fighters and other first responders. We saw American born citizens and citizens and other people who were from other countries.
And none of it mattered. Everyone helped each other.
Would that be the reaction today? The way this country is divided into so many “us” and “them” factions? The way so much hatred and division is not only accepted, but pretty much celebrated and encouraged?
I watched a video in which President Bush called on people to stop their harassment of “our Muslim neighbors and friends.” He called them neighbors and friends. He defended them, and he defended their religion.
Can you even begin to imagine what the current president might have said, had he been in the same position? Would he have defended them? Their religion? Or would he have called them “animals?” Would he have called for their immediate expulsion from the country? I like to think he would react the same way President Bush did. But I can’t believe he would have.
This country is a mess. There is so much hatred and racism, so much prejudice and animosity, I truly do not know whether we can ever recover from it.
The horror of 9/11, in so many ways, brought out the best in the American people.
This administration has brought out, and continues to bring out, the worst.
It sucks, and it’s not right, and it’s not fair to the good people who are still out there.
It made me so angry to think about what we were just 16 short years ago, and what we are now, I couldn’t stand it.
So much has been taken away from us by a man who never should have been elected, and by the unethical and selfish people he’s appointed to help him run (ruin?) the country. It’s just not fair.
And now they’re determined to do everything they can to take away our health care, to take away our right to protest, to take away more of our incomes to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy, to take away every single thing that makes us Americans, that makes the country great. It’s disgusting.
I want him to go to jail. I want his entire family to go to jail. I want him impeached. I want him publicly humiliated. And I want the same thing for every single member of his administration.
I will admit, I wasn’t a huge fan of President Bush. But you know what? He looked pretty damn “presidential” when he was calling for people to come together and not let hate win out over love.
Damn it. I want my country back.