You may notice that I haven’t said much about all the upcoming memorials scheduled for this weekend. You may also find it odd that I’ve been so quiet considering what I do for a living. For those of you new to this little corner of the interwebs, I’m a firefighter and I was working on September 11, 2001. I watched in stunned disbelief as a group of people absolutely consumed with hatred committed suicide to strike at the United States and killed almost 3000 of my countrymen. In the years since, I’ve watched with disgusted horror as this country has taken a huge, steaming dump on the sacrifices made that day. From the FDNY firefighters who climbed the stairs of the World Trade Center into what can only be described as hell on earth, to the passengers on Flight 93 who (knowing they were already dead) fought to take control of the aircraft and prevent anymore deaths, to the workers who labored in the twisted wreckage of Ground Zero and inhaled a toxic soup that took their lives as well, heroism and sacrifice was the order of the day. And, what was gained from all that sacrifice? An economy in shambles, two wars that have cost over a million lives and America’s reputation in the world, government agencies built on constitutional abuses and, in short, the loss of our soul. No bargains here.
I will not be watching any of the programs commemorating the 10th anniversary of that awful day. I can’t stand to watch corporations and politicians stand on the bodies of my brothers and sisters to make a dollar or get elected. I’m not worried about forgetting what happened then, because the images are burned into my brain; I’ll be seeing those towers collapse in my mind’s eye for the rest of my life. While I am in favor of the Ground Zero memorial, I don’t care for how New York City is handling the dedication service. Politicians and dignitaries are invited, but not the police officers, paramedics and firefighters who walked into hell that day? City officials say there’s just not enough room for all of them and the families of the victims. But there is enough room for the governor, the President and various other elected stooges and their retinues? I’m sorry, but I just don’t buy it.
For me, a fitting memorial to these people who selflessly gave their lives would be to end the wars, dismantle the hideous mess that our intelligence services have become, close the detention centers in Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere, stop practicing and condoning torture and, instead of killing our brothers and sisters, start working to improve their lives. That’s what Jesus would’ve done in this situation; you know, that whole “Love your enemies” thing? I realize that loving someone who’s stated goal is your extermination counterintuitive, but everything about the Gospel is counterintuitive. I think that’s what He meant when He said
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”