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Politics: 9/11: Can we remember without all the ceremony?

Published by: Dan Calabrese on Tuesday September 11th, 2012

Dan Calabrese

By DAN CALABRESE - We should never forget, but something bothers me about the way we commemorate 9/11.

It seems like I write this column every year, and every year people - especially conservatives - get mad at me for it. I guess there's a reflex that presumes anyone who gets squeamish about 9/11 memorial ceremonies must be an America-hating liberal who "wants us to forget."

Nope. Not me. (And this is a really good time to point out that, while this is Herman Cain's web site, this is Dan Calabrese's opinion only. I haven't talked to the boss about this and I have no idea what he thinks.)

Here's my problem with it: While we should certainly never stop honoring the people who lost their lives, and we should never stop honoring and supporting those who have fought this battle on our nation's behalf since that day (and their families) - do we really have to put on our sad, defeated faces like clockwork once a year? Do we still have to stand at the site of the towers that we still haven't rebuilt, wring our hands and cry our tears - every year, on this exact date that the terrorists picked out for us? It's almost as if we're giving them an annual Pavlov's Dog reaction: "Americans! Be sad! Remember how we punched you in the gut!"

And we do it.

Do we have to do this forever? I know we still commemorate Pearl Harbor, and maybe in 1953 the "anniversary" was still a big story like 9/11 still is today. But am I the only one who thinks you can reject the reflexive annual sorrow without failing to honor the memory of those who were lost? Am I the only one who thinks maybe there will come a point where we really don't need the poetry readings and the politicians' speeches every damn year on this date?

Wouldn't we honor the dead better by rebuilding the Twin Towers, and by figuring out what we really want to do in Afghanistan and doing it? Or maybe by picking out a suspected terrorist training camp on this day every year and just blowing the living daylights out of it?

Or do the rest of you just want to keep crying every year because the calendar says we're supposed to?