Michael R. Sweeny, Lawrence
In the September 2nd edition
of the New York Times, writer N.R. Kleinfield wonders if
the remembrances, tributes and honoring of the dead from
September 11th, 2001 has gone too far. He seems pained
not by the senseless murder of over 2,000 people, but by
the fact that six years later, people all over the world
will stop and remember the tragic events of that day. As
a nation we will pause and remember the lives lost, the
dreams that were ended and the terrible pain and horror
endured by hundreds of people trapped in the World Trade
We will, but apparently not the New York Times or N.R.
Kleinfield. Instead Kleinfield believes that the nation
is fatigued by the ceremonies that occurred
to remember those murdered on September 11th, 2001. The
first I heard of this national fatigue with
the events that occurred on September 11th was in this
New York Times column. Always on the cutting edge of
bashing America and anything associated with the ideals
this country was built upon, the New York Times and
Kleinfield have apparently found that honoring the dead
from Sept 11th to be too much of burden.
What the New York Times and Kleinfield cannot comprehend
and certainly cannot honor, is the sacrifice made that
day by men and women, ordinary people, most American
citizens, some from other countries, all of whom were
exercising their individual freedoms through the
engagement of their various professions or by freely
traveling across this country. Many on the planes that
day, including infants and children, were on their way
home, or to visit loved ones in another part of the
country. American, Israeli, British, Mexican or Russian
it did not matter. They were each murdered, many making
desperate phone calls to 911 or to loved ones. Many
leaving messages expressing their love or their regrets
into the answering machines of family members who will
forever treasure those tapes. So many everyday people,
fighting against fire, heat, broken bones, horror and the
unknown to help others who were hurt and dying.
On the ground in NYC hundreds of firefighters, police
officers and EMTs ran into the gates of hell to help.
Hundreds of these public safety officials would die in
the Towers. Scores of children lost their fathers or
mothers that day. Heroes were made, legends were created
and America and the world learn anew why freedom is never
free or easy. We learned again that only by facing hard
realities and ugly truths can we preserve a way of life
that allows people to make individual choices about how
we conduct ourselves in our personal lives, in our
expressions of religious faith, in the choices we make
regarding our education and career choices and how we
decide to honor those who died protecting our way of
But it has been six years and the New York Times and N.R.
Kleinfield have grow weary with the burden of living and
taking a moment to remember. How sad, pitiful and empty
On September 11th this year you need only take a
personal, private moment to re-member those who were
murdered and the sacrifices they made on that day.
Perhaps it will be another beautiful, perfect weather day
this coming Tuesday the 11th, just as it was in 2001. We
should all continue to move forward and live our lives
and em-brace new friends and new opportunities and
cherish those we love. But please, do not forget those
who died on September 11th, 2001.
Michael Sweeney is the planning director for the city
of Lawrence, a former member of the Lawrence City Council
and School Committee. You can e-mail Mr. Sweeney at
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The September 2007
Edition of the Valley Patriot
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