James A. McKenna, Ph.D.
Before September 11, 2001, the call numbers 9-1-1
meant, "help." Now these numbers have taken on a whole new reality.
When we say "9-1-1" we remember tragedy, assault, murder and we
experience rage, sadness, grief and determination to be a united nation.
Although, 9-1-1 means patriotism and the pride of
being an American, it symbolizes loss to those families whose loved ones were
killed. It means loss to all Americans and to their sense of homeland safety.
Certainly September 11th must be a day of
remembrances, prayers for those who died and their families. It must also result
in a firm resolve to make this Country a safer place for the living.
When a family loses a loved one, each anniversary of
that death brings longing, remembrances, and hopefully healing. This first
anniversary was blessed with such remembrances as reciting the names of those
who died and placing flowers at ground zero. It was a credit to the media that
they did not show repeated re-runs of the tragic scenes of the twin towers being
attacked. This was a blessing to the nation and to the families who mourn
Families donít show movies of the funeral or death
of loved ones to recreate the wake all over again. Neither should our nation.
Rather, finding other ways to memorialize and honor our dead was sought and a
grateful nation can appreciate the good sense of the mass media for refraining
from such sensationalizing. Instead of reliving those deaths over and over, it
was appropriate to reflect, pray, offer up good words and display unity though
song and the flag.
Just as families remember their dead by going to the
grave site and placing flowers, our nation went to ground zero. While some go to
their places of worship and pray, all across our nation we gathered and prayed.
Many will honor their dead with establishing scholarships and donations to other
worthy causes. There are living testaments to our dead in the form of naming
buildings, erecting monuments, etching names in stone, and writing ballads and
poems. This is already beginning to happen to victims of September 11, 2001.
Ground zero is our nationís "grave site" as was further established
on the first anniversary of mass murder and the destruction of the Twin Towers.
The birthplaces of the thousands of victims who died
on that tragic day could be remembered in their own hometowns. For example,
naming or renaming streets in the victimsí hometowns would keep their memories
alive where their lives began. Having an appropriate "tomb stone" at
ground zero would also be a place to visit and show respect for our dead.
Remember this: Wakes and funerals are for the
living. Congratulations to the media, once again, for remembering the living in
their coverage of this first anniversary of the 9-1-1 losses.
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