At what point did this country become aficionados of disaster porn?
For the record: Yes, 9/11 was a disgraceful sneak attack on America. Yes, it was a tragedy. Yes, a lot of people died for no reason. Yes, my heart goes out to the families of the deceased. Yes, I salute the valiant men and women who acted heroically. Yes, as a veteran myself my thoughts and prayers are with our brave men and women fighting this evil overseas. Yes New York, I salute the fallen firefighters who (against all instinct) ran toward the destruction instead of away from it to save as many lives as they could before they themselves perished.
But I don’t need to relive this moment every year.
What really sticks in my craw are the news cable shows who run, every year, an “as it happened” replay of the events that day as they unfolded in their newsroom.
I already know how it played out on television that day. I was sitting on the bench in the backyard that morning enjoying a coffee and cigarette when my uncle opened the back door and announced “someone just crashed a plane into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon’s on fire!”
My uncle drank. A lot. I seriously thought this was the beer talking when I walked in the house, turned on the television just at the moment the first World Trade Center tower fell on live TV.
Then the second one fell.
Then the replay of the second plane going into the second tower.
Then the rest of the news was clips of the towers collapsing interspersed with video of the second plane crashing into the second tower.
And on and on it went. All day, all night and for the next day and next night and on and on…At one point I said, “No disrespect intended, but did anything else happen in the world today?”
I was already numbed. You can only witness so many planes crashing into so many buildings, only so many people falling to their deaths having elected to jump from the building, only so many shots of the gaping hole in the side of the Pentagon.
Dear Cable and Network TV:
This is why today and for the 9/11’s of the last 10 years I elect to turn off the television. How many times do we have to see these people die? How many times do we have to see those towers fall? How many times do we have to see scenes of panicked people running out of New York and Washington D.C. because they were afraid this attack was just the opening moments of a larger one and that it wasn’t over yet?
Once was enough.
Yes, I remember those who died and those who were heroes on that day today but I don’t need to watch it again.
Now in it’s 11th year, the TV is turned off on 9/11 and will remain off for every 9/11 from now and for the duration. I’m not even going to the bar for a few drinks because they’ve got a television and you bet your ass it’s a replay of 9/11.
I’m staying in, loading up iTunes, listening to my collection and laying on the couch while I commemorate and remember the victims and heroes of this day in my own way without a network or cable TV channel telling me how to do it.
- 9/11 Story and Memory (fantageworldguide.wordpress.com)
- 9/11/01…we Remember! (acanderson9.wordpress.com)
- America remembers its fallen: Emotions run high as relatives of 9/11 victims gather at Ground Zero twelve years after tragedy (dailymail.co.uk)
- Memories of 9/11 after a dozen years (chrisabraham.com)