Saturday, Sept. 11, 2004 | 7:51 p.m.



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The Inevitable 9/11 Post

I have been resisting the urge to wax nostalgic about 9/11 as the day has gone on. Of course it's all over the media, and no few fellow diarists have written about it as well. I guess part of the reason I don't want to think about it much today is that I feel as if, like patriotism, the Bush Administration has also usurped the meaning of the horror of that day. They banged it into the ground at the RNC, they've banged it into the ground every time this nation starts to creep out of its house of fear (hello? nothing has changed -- we are still as vulnerable as ever, folks. If illegal drugs can get into this country without much trouble, you can bet terrorists and weapons can too... and of course, we don't like to think about the terrorists we've already spawned without any help from the Middle East, like Tim McVeigh or Ted Kazynski, or others of their ilk just waiting in the wings), and they've especially banged it into the ground by trying to link it to the war in Iraq. They've turned it into their war staff, their justification for anything that they can't find a better reason for, or that they don't want to be honest about, and it turns my stomach. I am disgusted that the blood of these people has been turned into a tool for the media, for political gain and for profit. I am angry that it was used so callously by so many speakers at the RNC.

I want to just be able to step back and let myself think about the events of this day without this stain. I want to take the higher ground and not taint it with politics. But I can't. As with patriotism, I have to work to reclaim it, to put it into a context that I can appreciate, to allow myself to remember the horror and grief of that day without cringing about its aftermath. I guess for me, the path to reclaiming is the human cost. I will not forget how many innocent lives were lost that day and in the days that followed. I will not forget the deep sadness I felt, the fear for my children, my fear for my own life and those of my friends and family. I won't forget the tears I shed as I watched in horror, the stunned silence and stiffled sobs at the office I was visiting or the quiet ride home from Indiana while I struggled to make sense of what had happened and also worried about whether it was actually over. I won't forget the incredible bravery of the emergency medical service men and women who rushed to the aid of strangers and lost their lives, or how, for a brief shining moment, there actually was such a thing as a world community.

And then the Bush Administration blew it by deciding to "cowboy up." So I also will not forget the innocent lives -- both American and non-American -- that have been lost since that day because our government so badly mishandled the tragedy and capitalized on our nation's fear to forge ahead with an agenda that was created before Bush even took office. None of that will leave my mind. Ever. And most especially not on November 2nd.

So you can bet I won't forget. I won't. But that may not mean what the Bush Administration wants it to mean.

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