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9/11: Not Another Day to Glorify the Military

I hadn’t planned to write about 9/11 this week, but it’s hard to get away from the “Always Remember, Never Forget” sentiment on social media and TV. That in and of itself is not a bad thing, but here’s what is. People not understanding what September 11, 2001, was—and what it definitely wasn’t, and shouldn’t be now. And that is a celebration of the US military.

To wit, or perhaps witless, was a post on Facebook I unfortunately saw upon waking today. It had the usual American flag flying in the background to bolster the sentiment, which was in honor of “first responders and the military who protected us that day.”

Are you fucking kidding me?

Protected? Military? A catastrophic terrorist event occurred on American soil, including an attack of the headquarters of the US Department of Defense. There was no prevention, there was no defense. There was no protection. That’s the problem, and always has been.

Yes, there were first responders, and they are the heroes of this story, and of this day and beyond. They were also civilians. Not uniformed members of the US military or acting as such, but firefighters and paramedics from local neighborhoods. That’s who responded in the initial hours on September 11.

Even uniformed military members at the Pentagon were not deployed to some distant land for combat or “protection” on that day, they were working at desk jobs alongside civilian co-workers. And civilians died that day, due to commercial plane crashes in New York, at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, and in Pennsylvania. All orchestrated by foreign civilian terrorists.

Hence, for people also posting about how 9/11 should be a federal holiday, we have enough of those to celebrate the military that are already mischaracterized and misunderstood. People can’t or won’t distinguish the difference between Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day. And the month of July has turned into nothing more than an excuse for idiots to fire off commercial grade fireworks in residential neighborhoods as a ridiculous form of performance patriotism that has nothing to do with Independence Day and everything to do with promotion of white nationalism or outright selfish stupidity.

Perhaps the only way for folks to accurately comprehend a holiday dedicated to 9/11 would be to name it Civilians Day. Or even Citizens Day. But that would mean they couldn’t avoid the truth and try to make it yet another day to glorify the military because that’s apparently what makes them feel safe and comforted and all red, white, and blue proud.

It’s difficult to be proud about  9/11 being the greatest single failure of counterintelligence and the might of our military industrial complex this nation has ever known. We evidently can’t accept that, so instead we do absolutely tone deaf and appalling things to “honor” what should be a solemn day of remembrance of civilians who lost their lives, including first responders.

Last year, for example, I was at a community event wherein a local public official crowed about an upcoming 9/11 observance in Las Vegas, greatly excited about how we were going to have a flyover by our local Air Force fighter jets.

A flyover. Of military aircraft intended for warfare. Intended for defense.

Not a single one of those incredibly expensive aircraft paid for by the American taxpayer was used in defense or protection of American citizens on 9/11. And no amount of thanking or glorifying the military on any given day will change that sordid fact.

That’s what I will always remember and never forget. As a civilian who worked for the military, it’s taken many years to come to terms with that, and I remain astounded at the cluelessness or outright callousness of those who would still try to make 9/11 about the military.

It’s bad enough that we’ve had the Department of Defense since pay the NFL to promote the military, and that sports events are used to enforce performance patriotism. It’s bad enough that we still don’t have accountability and answers about another more recent catastrophic failure of the military to protect and defend the US Capitol and our democracy on January 6, 2021.

If the military were a championship NFL football team, not only did they not win the Superbowl known as 9/11 (or Jan 6), they didn’t show up to play the game. A military flyover before the game or after the fact doesn’t count. It never will.


4 thoughts on “9/11: Not Another Day to Glorify the Military”

  1. Thank you. I have always used 9/11 as a day for our Frist Responders and civilians that lost their lives that day. I will also remember it as the day the Steel Workers of New York in our hotel lost their minds not being able to connect their loved ones back home, or get flights out. And the day the company I worked for price gouged them that ended up staying. Not the finest day for the hotel industry in Las Vegas.

    1. All this talk of “unity” after 9/11 is confusing to me too. I don’t remember much of that. Then again, I was living in my own personal hell. There was no unity in my office, quite the opposite. In many ways the year following 9/11 was worse than the day itself.

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