Wednesday, September 13, 2006

This past Monday there was a memorial service in the Wren Yard to observe the 5th anniversary of the September 11th attacks. I went down there with some trepidation, because I expected the event to be overly political. Instead, I wound up lighting candles with my friend Andy Badke. The people organizing the event were understaffed and needed help lighting each and every candle (one for each victim, I assume) that lined the sidewalks and steps surrounding the Sunken Gardens. Thus I missed most of the speeches.

When I finally got tired of burning the knuckle of my right thumb with the lighter they gave me, I wandered over the fence surrounding the Wren Building. As I got there, I caught the tail end of a Methodist priest finishing a prayer he was giving.
Then a Muslim student got up and read passages from the Koran. Before I get started, let me say that I'm of the same mindset of the guy Taranto who runs Opinion Journal:

"At the same time, there is a reason that the illegal combatants at Guantanamo are provided with Korans and arrows pointing to Mecca rather than with Bibles or tzitzit. Islam is not our enemy, but our enemies are Muslim; and Islam as they understand it is the ideology that drives them to make war on us."

I find it objectionable that we read Koranic verse at the anniversary of what is arguably our nation's most tragic moment. Why is it necessary to defend and coddle Muslims after 9/11? Why do the finer distinctions of what the Koran says about killing matter in light of what happened? If your answer is "to prevent anti-Muslim backlash," I would point you to this article, which, although sympathetic towards Muslims, has this nugget buried inside it:

"Even during the post-Sept. 11 backlash the number of crimes committed against Muslims remained less than half those committed against Jews, who remained the most targeted religious group. Some 1,117 anti-Jewish offenses were committed in 2001."

And still, five years later, they still trot out the same old faces that tell us the same old boilerplate: "Islam is a religion of peace." Five years later a student gets up in front of the College of William and Mary and tells us that 9/11 is an oppurtunity to transcend ethnic and religious discrimination. I'm sure that the men and women who jumped from the floors of the World Trade Center appreciated that rare oppurtunity for the eight seconds it took for them to plummet earthward.

Maybe the truth about this sorry affair is people just don't care anymore. Maybe people really HAVE moved on. Perhaps the fact that 9/11 memorials have turned into candle-lighting "Give Peace A Chance" get-togethers really proves that three thousand deaths have become just another whisper in the corridors of time.

The big question asked when the movie Flight 93 came out was: "Is It Too Soon?" I would argue that it came too late. It came out too late to really remind people of how they felt on that day. It came too late to mobilize the will required to rigorously pursue the people who wanted to bring the United States crashing to the ground. And it came too late to convince an emotionally indolent and spiritually apathetic American people that it was more important to defend our lives than to defend as a "religion of peace" the only major world religion whose fundamentalist adherents cut off the heads of their helpless victims.