Monday, January 26, 2009

Should 9/11 Become a National "Holiday" ?

Personally, I do not believe it would be a good idea to make the anniversary of 9/11 a national holiday.

The attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941, took the lives of 2,403 Americans and began WW II for Americans. The attack on the Twin Towers took the lives of 2,974 and began "The War on Terrorism".

Pearl Harbor's anniversary is not a national holiday, yet many people remember it, and our media including newspapers and television bring it to our attention.

America's desire for justice and/or revenge led us to attack Iraq and bring about the deaths possibly of as many asone million Iraqis, almost all civilians. There were 19 men responsible for hijacking the four airliners. There were mostly from Saudi Arabia (an ally) and, as far as I know, they were all Muslims.

America's response to this attack has created among many Americans hatred for Muslims in general, and created the term of War against Terrorism -- for what should really be police action against a relatively very small number of terrorists.

Now, some will not like this, but is there any reason for 9/11 having happened? Were these nineteen madmen, ninetten crazed fanatics? I think if we look at the possible causes for those outside our borders harboring ill will towards us has some validity.

We have for many years had an American economic empire which has shortchanged third world countries throughout the world --- benefitting very little the masses of their people, but enriching their ruling elites and our corporations. And, I should add, making sure Americans have low prices for commodities like oil as well as other resources for our industries. These "other peoples"-- many of whom are impoverished -- are to some extent this way because Americans were devoted to their own standard of living. There are limits to the earth. Now, many of these countries, especially in South America are demanding that that in justice these precious natural resources bring benefits to their own people -- first.

Americans, in general, seldom put themselves in the place of people in other lands, especially the third world. We don't see ourselves as they see us. For example, we are spreading throughout the Muslim world American "culture" --- much of which is materialistic, immoral, and ungodly to those in Muslim nations. Islam's Koran does state that Muslims have the right to defend themselves when Muslim nations are being "attacked" -- put in situations where their lives and their faith is endangered.

We are not the "good guys" we think we are. Historically our nation has not always been a "good guy". We can look at our history and see the Mexican War, the conquest of the Philippines. the decimation and humiliation of our native Americans, the long struggle for the slaves to become really Americans, the mistreatment of American workers by large corporations that spawned the labor movement. and so on.

I think that creating a 9/11 national holiday will serve as a means of preserving feelings of hatred and revenge (and not just against the nineteen involved). Truthfully, our nation's actions over many years and our failure to be aware of international problems --- was a partial cause of the disaster. We may not like to hear this, but there it is. What good would a 9/11 holiday do?
Would it be used to promote a climate of fear leading to the U.S. becoming a police state? Would it be used to build an even large war machine that we have --- for Our Security. So that no one, no nation, no individual could ever damage us again. Security such as this is part pipe dream and part too costly in everyway. We need to protect ourselves, to have reasonable security, but there are limits, which when exceeded, create a less desirable U.S.A. and world.

Even national holidays like Independence Day and Memorial Day have become mostly "mini" vacations for most Americans,, i.e. a day off. How many of us pick up The Constitution on the Fourth of July? Or do we set up the loudest and most spectacular fireworks we can? The same is true of Memorial Day. When I grew up Memorial Day was a special day for most of those I knew. The focus of the day was visiting the graves of family members, tidying up the site, adding flowers, reminiscing, and usually a special dinner or lunch. It was a quiet day, a thoughtful day, a meaningful day.

9/11 should be remembered and it should be learned from. We should try to construct a world and a nation that will be less likely to foster anger and hate. Mourn the dead. Yes, but this, frankly, will be done mostly by the relatives of those involved. There are more important lessons to learn from 9/11 than the American deaths.