Josef Stalin has been quoted as saying that the death of an individual is a tragedy.  The death of millions is a statistic.  He knew something about creating statistics.

The events of 9/11/2001 have become a memorial more about the fates of firefighters than of the people who died in the attacks.  That is understandable.  The only thing that united the individuals who died in the attacks was that they were all in the wrong place that day.  They were men and women, Christians and Jews and Muslims, they were mothers and daughters and fathers and sons.

I knew no one killed in the attacks.  However, like almost everyone I know, I was connected by only two degrees of separation.

A co-worker following the attacks was quiet for days.  Finally I asked why and found that her nephew was on one of the top floors of one of the twin towers.  He had been married less than a year.  His wife was pregnant with their first.  He called her to say I won’t be home for dinner, ever.  There is no way down.  I love you.  Tell our daughter that daddy really wanted to be part of her life.

There were many of those stories, and we can’t tell them all or hear them all so we watch firefighters marching with bagpipes and erect banners and listen to speeches about national security.

The terrorists did a good job.  After all of this time the grief is raw.

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Comment by koshersalaami on September 11, 2018 at 8:14pm

I don’t know anyone directly either. (I was on the roof of one of them many years ago.)

Comment by Maui Surfer on September 11, 2018 at 9:05pm

Rodney, as I believe you may have concluded, no one, repeat, NO ONE could get me to Viet Nam, though they tried. That said, I have seen war. I've traveled the World some call the Third. I've spend months in places most people wouldn't spend a day, just because there was a world class wave in front of them, breaking empty, with locals who didn't know surfing from riding in the space station. But, a couple days after September Eleventh, I left a meeting in MidTown Manhattan and began to walk. Things looked pretty much the same down to Chelsea, then, in Tribeca, you began to feel it, and by the time I got to Ground Zero my Ferragamo loafers were covered in a film, of, well, everything. Everything you could imagine from rubber to plastic to concrete to metal to excrement. All now residue, all exploded, covering everything and everywhere you could see. And there was still a thin film in the air where what was left of machinery moved it around. I got to the hole, the giant pit you see in all the pictures. Very few people were there, but, of those who were, none talked, at all. Some cried. I alternated. So, I have seen war after all, in our own country ... the result of colonialism? the result of the Crusades? the result of the Saudi refusal to let Bin Laden form his own force to take on the Soviets? All the above, and more. It is as midnight approaches, worth considering why ...

Comment by Rodney Roe on September 12, 2018 at 7:50am

This was about the individuals who die and suffer in all conflicts but become just a number. Wars, pogroms, massacres, ethnic cleansing; the victims end up just being a number in a history text without names or faces.

Comment by Maui Surfer on September 12, 2018 at 8:31am

p\Precisely why we PROTEST, FIGHT AND REFUSE TO GO. In the case of an attack such as this, the names slowly fade, but, as far as being told you have to do the killing, to people you have nothing against, well, there you have the Neo-Conservative agenda.

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