September 11: Time to truly honor those who were on the front lines that day? | Street Jazz

September 11: Time to truly honor those who were on the front lines that day?

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I was working in the chemical lab of plant in Fayetteville on September 11, 2011 when a co-worker’s girlfriend called and told him the news of the planes crashing into the Twin Towers in New York City. I, in turn, called Tracy at home to make sure she had heard the news.

That night, we didn’t stray far from the television screen, taking in the awful events of that day as they were replayed for all of us.

The next day I remarked to a friend that I wondered how long it would be before someone tried to take advantage of the tragedy, and use it for political purposes. Because he had a higher opinion of human nature than I did, he angrily told me that no one would.

All things considered, I wish that I had been wrong and that he had been proven correct in his beliefs.

There have been millions of words written and spoken - and there will be millions more in the next two days - about September 11, and its aftermath.

I think that one of the most startling - and the most disheartening - transformations is how the political right has come to view those on the front lines day day - the brave individuals who worked in the police and fire departments, or as emergency workers.

For a brief period of time they were “America’s Heroes.” Politicians seemed to be shoving each other out of the way have their pictures taken with them, and the shelves of toy stores were stocked with action figures of such characters, not to mention TV shows, of course.

But in recent years the politicians have resumed their sniveling attacks on “public workers” and worked to strip them of their benefits and collective bargaining rights, and treated them almost as a sort of parasite on the American political body.

Even the long-fought for health bill for 9/11 responders does not cover cancer, one of the chief ailments arising from their valiant service on that day.

The EMTs, those who serve in the police and fire departments have once again become whipping boys for those who were no where to be seen on that awful day, but would gleefully take a magic marker and destroy their lives, all for “budgetary” reasons.

In Saul Levitt’s play “The Andersonville Trial,” the prosecutor, Colonel Chipman, says that in this life “we cling to our humanity by our fingernails.”

But sometimes, by sheer force of will, we are able to take a firmer hold and pull ourselves up, and stand with others in common cause.

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Quote of the Day

Most quarrels are inevitable at the time; incredible afterwards. - E. M. Forster

rsdrake@cox.net

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