Thursday, September 21, 2006

Can You Please Just Leave Us Alone (on 9/11) From Now On?

Five years on and for at least some of us who live near Ground Zero, 9/11 brings not only memories of the fire that rained on our sidewalks then but of the faux-patriotic simpletons that have trod our sidewalks every anniversary since then.

They come on loud-piped Harleys festooned with stars and stripes; they parade in kilts and play bagpipes in front of our Korean market as if we had only just been wishing we'd hear those lilting strains. They come in uniform from parts unknown to pay homage (that's fine), but they also come in dressy ensembles and attend fancy dinners wearing nametags as if on a junket to Cap d'Antibes. And they also come, by the busload, in flip-flops and dumb t-shirts to snap pictures of allegedly hallowed, inauthentic graffitti on Liberty Street and sometimes to scrawl earnest inanities of their own.

The police, heavy into overtime and only slightly drunk on authority, shout into loudspeakers and blithely prevent folks from crossing streets that would otherwise allow them to execute quotidian duties--buying stamps at the post office, for instance. The cops aren't trying to bother the folks that live down here, just to manage the crowds that have morbidly assembled.

Predictably the parade of elected officials descends. Then we are in a state of near lock-down. In Lower Manhattan, if they block street A and the island is too narrow to provide another means of getting to street B, then you are out of luck: you can't get there from here. Isn't that soothing?

Perhaps most troubling is that at year five, the balance has begun to tip from where the 9/11 mood is somber to one where the 9/11 mood has a discernable flavor of celebration. Many I am sure must have felt this way when Memorial Day slipped from being associated with sacrifice to being associated with grilled kielbasa.

Humans have a way of incorporating all events good or ill to suit them and eventually what suits them is to have a good time. I am fine with that. But if we are going to start getting all relaxed about it, can we please drop the "additional security measures" that drive locals to distraction? And here's an idea for all potential 9/11 observants come '07 (present readership excepted of course): instead of coming down to share in the half-somber, half-celebratory atmosphere, how about staying home? We've really had enough, thanks.


Yahoo! Messenger with Voice. Make PC-to-Phone Calls to the US (and 30+ countries) for 2¢/min or less.