Tag Archives: 9/11

Visiting the September 11th Memorial

September 11th MemorialThe National September 11th Memorial opened in lower Manhattan on September 12th, 2011; so, it has now been open for two years. Yet, though yours truly is a resident of New York City, I only got around to seeing it for the first time last week, in the company of an out-of-town visitor who was interested in going there. Frankly, I’d had no great interest in seeing it (which I knew meant reserving a ticket and then standing in line to gain access to the memorial). Why? I suppose—although I fully appreciate the purpose of a national memorial for the victims of the September 11th attacks—that I just felt no need to utilize it. Without wanting to come across dramatic and angst-ridden, I think I can honestly say that I remember the 9/11 attack each and every day that I am in New York. And I’m quite sure that something very similar is true for most New Yorkers who were here on the day it happened. It’s merely human nature. Familiar things retain the sense of such an emotional event. I can’t so much as glance at the skyline without some measure of remembrance, however fleeting. A jet airliner flying relatively low … it’s just the way it is, and will be, till these bones are desposited into the earth. And just the typical weather of September in New York City evokes that day, in a similar way to that in which a specific smell can evoke vivid memories of a long past moment.

In addition to that, I didn’t lose a loved one in the attacks, so the site would not be a place for me to go and remember or pray for any one in particular.

Nevertheless, I can well understand why out-of-towners would want to go, and so I dutifully accompanied my visitor. It was not a challenge to reserve tickets online a day before (the rush has diminished since the opening two years ago). And the line to get in, through the entrance at the corner of Greenwich and Albany, moved pretty quickly. In line, one’s first impression is the similarity to going through airport security. There is a fairly thorough security check (please leave your guns and bombs at the hotel) and the passes I’d printed out from the internet were checked no less than three times.

At the end of it, you emerge into the September 11th Memorial, which is entirely outdoors. It basically comprises the land area that was occupied by the Twin Towers, and the space between them and immediately around them. (The new World Trade Center “Freedom Tower” is immediately adjacent.) When the towers were standing, you would have been able to walk through this space freely, entering from multiple points on the Manhattan street grid. Now that they’re gone, there is the single entrance via the security checks. Continue reading Visiting the September 11th Memorial

The Cinch Review

Tony Bennett and the incoherence of pacifism

In an interview with Howard Stern the other day, the 85 year-old singer Tony Bennett made some statements about September 11th, 2001, for instance:

“But who are the terrorists? Are we the terrorists or are they the terrorists? Two wrongs don’t make a right,” and, “They flew the plane in, but we caused it. Because we were bombing them and they told us to stop.”

The obvious response to this is to say that Tony Bennett should stick to singing, and to talking about music. In those areas he’s pretty smart. In terms of politics, simply put, he’s always been a liberal wacko. When asked the kinds of questions Stern asked, Bennett is guaranteed to show his wackiness. He also said, maybe most absurdly of all, that President George W. Bush had confided in him at the White House that the war in Iraq had been “a mistake.” Continue reading Tony Bennett and the incoherence of pacifism

The Cinch Review

9/11 Anniversary terror threat

We’re used to terror threats, rumors and alerts, but if you trust the reports there seems to be a significant difference to the credibility attached to the current one, where New York and Washington D.C. are said to be targets of a plot to coincide with the tenth anniversary of September 11th, 2001. It’s no reason to panic, and I don’t see anyone panicking, but it’s worth remembering who this enemy is. If they do succeed in pulling off an attack, they will want it to be a monstrous one, intended to horrify and turn the stomachs of all decent people—intended to break hearts. Remember 9/11, remember Beslan, remember how they saw people’s heads off on video. Continue reading 9/11 Anniversary terror threat