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Sunday, September 02, 2007
NY Times Finds Something Our Grief Was Good For

In case you missed it, the New York Times ran this story recently discussing doubts that many people have about whether or not we should still be thinking about 9/11.

My favorite quote:

“I may sound callous, but doesn’t grieving have a shelf life?” said Charlene Correia, 57, a nursing supervisor from Acushnet, Mass. “We’re very sorry and mournful that people died, but there are living people. Let’s wind it down.”

No, Charlene, that doesn't sound callous at all. Don't bother looking up from the television for a few minutes once a year to think about the 3,000+ of your fellow citizens who were incinerated or crushed on live television by fanatical terrorists.

The Times continues, musing on how we might remember September 11th one hundred years from now. The money quote here comes from, of course, academia:

“It’s conceivable that it could be virtually forgotten,” said Dr. Bodnar, the history professor. “Does anyone go out on the streets of New York and commemorate the firing on Fort Sumter?”

Is this really a good example? We may not commemorate the battle on Fort Sumter, which cost a grand total of 1 life (and an accidental death at that), but we certainly do commemorate the Civil War that followed.

Seriously, you can take a walk through Gettysburg on any given weekend and see just a few of the many thousands of Americans who are drawn there every year. Why do people take their children to Little Roundtop? Why do they walk the open fields where Pickett's brigade was decimated?

The answer is obvious: we visit places like Gettysburg because it is important to remember. All these years later, there are certain lessons we can't afford to forget.

Not surprisingly, just days before the NY Times openly wondered whether all this September 11th rememberance was too much, the Times editors were out defending the " throb of grief" associated with the death of Princess Diana . "Incommensurate" and "Global throb of grief" is their words, and still, their editors conclude this about our grief for Princess Di:

Perhaps the answer is no more complicated than this: the world is filled with so much to grieve over that grief itself seems incommensurate and indulgent. It is no slight to that young woman to say that in her death we recognized something our grief was good for.

Got that? The state of the world is so bad that we feel indulgent mourning over the death of a person whose principal achievement in life was to marry and divorce well and fill lots of copy for People magazine that was probably of keen interest to the Charlene Correia's of the world.

For the editors at the Times, Diana was worth grieving. The 3000+ Americans who died on September 11th. Not so much.

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