:: Wednesday, June 11, 2003 ::
Peggy Noonan has a great column up on OpinionJournal concerning what has and hasn't changed in America as a result of 9/11.
New Yorkers themselves have returned to fighting with each other. There's been plenty to fight over, from the new taxes to the mayor's new antismoking laws, which are not so much a policy as a non sequitur--New York is in crisis, let's ban smoking! And there is the declaration of the organizations of World Trade Center families-of-victims that there should not be a statue of the firemen at the WTC memorial site. Three hundred forty-three of them died that day, but to commemorate their sacrifice would be "hierarchical." They want it clear that no one was better than anyone else, that all alike were helpless, victims.
But that is not true; it is the opposite of the truth. The men and women working in the towers were there that morning, and died. The firemen and rescue workers--they weren't there, they went there. They didn't run from the fire, they ran into the fire. They didn't run down the staircase, they ran up the staircase. They didn't lose their lives, they gave them.
This is an important disagreement, because memorials teach. They teach the young what we, as a society, celebrate, hold high, honor. A statue of a man is an assertion: It asserts that his behavior is worthy of emulation. To leave a heroic statue of the firemen out of a WTC memorial would be as dishonest as it would be ungenerous, and would yield a memorial that is primarily about victimization. Which is not what that day was about, as so much subsequent history attests.
But go tell some New Yorkers. They're all arguing. September 11 didn't change everything.
Well said. You should read the whole thing. All of which made me resopond with the following:
A very important reality has been highlighted in this column. We are fighting a war of ideologies at home as well as abroad. At the same time that we fight to combat terrorist bent on our total destruction, we must also fight the notion that values are all relative and all points of view carry equal merit.
I firmly believe that all men are created equal, but they don't stay that way. What you do with your life, the roles and responsibilities that you accept, differentiate you from the rest of the human race.
List my name with those who believe that a memorial to the firefighters, the paramedics, the police, and the many volunteers that responded to the tragedy of 9/11 and died there is not only appropriate, but that to deny them that recognition is morally indefensible.
In a culture that had become ambivalent or, in some cases, openly hostile to the heroes of the past, the firefighters and others who answered the call that morning in Manhattan reclaimed the position that years of antiestablishment moral relativism had tried to take away.
These men and women may have been born equal to the rest of us, but they proved with their own courage and blood that they did not remain equal.
:: Mark 5:22 PM [+] ::