The First Draft: 9/11, eight years on

September 11, 2009

USA-SEPT11/Washington awoke to a cool and rainy 9/11 today, so different from the brilliant sunshine that many recall from the day of the 2001 attacks at the Pentagon, the World Trade Center and in an open field in Pennsylvania.

To mark the anniversary, President Barack Obama, the first lady and White House staff observed a moment of silence on the South Lawn at 8:46 a.m., the time when the first hijacked plane hit the first tower in New York City. Next is a presidential wreath-laying and remarks at the Pentagon Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery.

The Obamas are slated to participate in a “service event” later in the day, part of a move to make the 9/11 anniversary a day of public service. Vice President Joe Biden speaks at a commemoration ceremony in lower Manhattan. Secretary of State speaks at the first Annual 9/11 National Day of Service and Remembrance in New York. The National Museum of the Marine Corps marks the anniversary with a new exhibit “dedicated to the historic day and the global war on terrorism.”

USA/This year, 9/11 feels like an appropriate moment to pause, a break from the sturm and drang of politics and policy-making. Fights over healthcare reform, how to fix the economy and curb climate change can wait for at least a moment.

Somehow, it brings to mind the words of Carl Sandburg, writing about memory and healing in a poem about how battlefields recover. Sandburg wrote of the battles at Gettysburg and Waterloo, and how time and grass cover up the raw pain of these places. The sites of 9/11, grass-covered or not, could easily apply.

“Two years, ten years, and passengers ask the conductor:
What place is this?
Where are we now?

I am the grass.
Let me work.”

See the whole poem here.

For more Reuters political news, click here.

Photo credits: REUTERS/Molly Riley (A rose is laid at the Pentagon memorial, December 9, 2008)
REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton (Freedom Tower section of World Trade Center construction site, Sept 9, 2009)


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Although 911 was a very bad day, America needs to get over this 8-year hangover that it’s been reliving nonstop. If Israel had ceremonies to mark every terrorist event that they’ve endured, they would certainly never get anything accomplished. We’ve spend enough money on this thing, said everything we need to say, and need to get on with our lives.

Posted by Frank | Report as abusive

I couldn’t disagree with Frank more. This day should be remembered with more vibrance and energy every year. I imagine the family members of those killed don’t want to forget, and don’t we owe those victims, heroes and Americans that honor? I suspect the soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen serving abroad would suggest never forgetting either. We can get on with our lives, in fact I would suggest that we as a nation have gotten on with our lives what would suggest otherwise?

Posted by Eric | Report as abusive

Lets hope we’ve learned from our past, and Frank you are more than welcomed to move on, rest of us will remember the day like it was yesterday. 8 years may have gone by but we still feel the pain very strongly and will feel it for years to come.

Posted by V | Report as abusive

9/11 was a terrible day for 3000 souls and that should never be forgotten but at the same time should not stop someone from getting on with their lives, although I do not know how remebering that day can prevent US from moving ahead. May be if it does to someone, they can forget.

Also it is hoped that 8 yrs of War on terror must have given US enough wisdom to take a moment for those 100,000 souls who lost lives within 3-4 months of Bush’s Shock and Awe carpet bombing of Iraq in a lie-based war.

How many here know that even when pentagon was burning Bush Inc. was making plans to put the blame also on Saddam Hussain—means what? That means 3 days after 3000 lives were lost on American soil, plan was being hatched to get 3000 more killed (# is right ??) soldiers not to speak of innocents.

Also remember those US/allied soldiers who died for the their countries fighting the war.

I will not ask why Osama bin Laden and his other associates were not “smoked out” as Bush promised after 9/11. Also ask whether a trillion dollar circus started by neocons made US a safer land. It is time for Americans to become sensitive to the global problems and make sure that govt does not fight unnecessary wars and fight the necessary war in Af-Pak which they have not been fighting. Moving on is easy word when one is geographically cut from the area where the soldiers and innocents are still dying each day and terrorists still remain in safe havens.

remember the past to guide the future and move on safely with life.

Posted by RAJEEV | Report as abusive

Why are Americans so damn religious when it comes to their government? It seems like whenever some tragedy befalls the U.S.(e.g. Oklahoma City bombings, 9/11) Americans everywhere want to build a monument, erect a statue, hold a dedication, have a moment of silence, write poems, and indulge in some type of masonic nonsense. Like it or not, America’s meddling in other countries’ affairs brought on 9/11; it’s our own fault. Our fanatical allegiance to Israel, our lust for empire building, our bullying and intimidation of other countries whose politics we don’t like, and our selling of arms to warring countries all led to that event. Unfortunately, nothing’s changed. The bully on the playground is worse than ever. One of these days all the kids on the playground will gang up on the bully. What then?

Posted by Mufaso | Report as abusive

The towers did not fall. They were blown up, and they collapsed at the speed of sound. We still don’t know how it happened or who did it. If you believe the government version of the story, you are not capable of rational thought. How are we supposed to forget it, when there are so many questions left unanswered?

Posted by Jef | Report as abusive

after 8 yrs of 9/11.
Where is our Troops ? Ans : Suffering in Afghanistan or Iraq.
Where is George Bush ? Ans : Enjoying Dallas,TX
Where is Osama Bin Laden ? Ans : Enjoying in Pakistan.

Posted by Nilesh | Report as abusive