9/11 Anniversary: Let's Not

At the risk of sounding a tad controversial, I would like to propose that we not commemorate the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist event. Absolutely nothing good can come of a nation that chooses to remember its gravest sadness. While it is noble to pay tribute to our lost loved ones and the lives they lead, commemorating the mass destruction that plunged the world into the fear-ridden black hole it has become in the last ten years is at best macabre and at worst insane.

Consider every other major American political holiday: President's Day, Columbus Day, Independence Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, etc. (I have chosen to leave out Memorial Day and Labor Day because these are not uniquely American holidays.) Each of these days commemorates something that makes the United States a wonderful place: our independence, our spirit of discovery, great men in our history, and so forth.

It is natural for a nation to commemorate its heroes and its greatest achievements. Maintaining such a commitment propagates a general spirit of optimism and pride. Yes, such days are deliberately nationalistic and as such contain an element of propaganda. However, it is at least a type of propaganda that speaks to our greatest qualities as a nation: freedom, ambition, equality, leadership.

Commemorating a day of death and mass destruction serves no other purpose but to remind us that horrible things can happen to us, that we have gone to war against a faceless, nameless, and largely uncoordinated group of petty criminals who attack civilians in order to protest against the acts of our federal government.

9/11 as a "holiday," as a symbol of national memorium, is designed to keep us at war. That is the plain truth of it. The government seeks only to remind us that something nasty can happen to us at any minute. Orange alert! Orange alert! Keep an eye on your neighbors, keep a gas mask in the pantry, pay no attention to the unconstitutional body-scanners and the ever-climbing national debt, inflation rate, and barriers to trade.

Only through fear, shame, and sadness can tyrants rule us. Freedom and optimism walk hand-in-hand.

My birthday is on the 20th. Let's celebrate that, instead.


  1. I get what you're saying and it makes sense, but I wonder that the intent of Patriot day was to have a memorial day. Something to honour and remember the victims and heroes of that day (the first responders). Is this not the same as your Veteran's Day (like our Rememberance Day) on Nov 11? A day to remember the soldiers who died and honour those who survived? Perhaps that's the view the officials who created this day had when they created Patriot day.

  2. Perhaps you're right. However, I note that the USA celebrates the birthday of Abraham Lincoln, not the anniversary of his assassination.

    It is easy to take an isolated example ("patriot" day), ignore its underlying context (9/11 terrorist attacks and the war and destruction of the post-9/11 world), and come up with a likely story of why a hypothetical proponent would want to propose that we celebrate "patriot" day.

    I am not calling into question the good intentions of someone who wishes to celebrate heroes, but rather the psychology of people who would rather commemorate death than life. I lay flowers on my grandmother's headstone on her birthday, not on the anniversary of her death. I celebrate her life, not the anguish of her final days in the hospital.

    There is something wrong with a nation that wants to commemorate death. There is something defeatist about it, something incredibly down-trodden. It is not natural to the American psyche as I remember it in the pre-9/11 days.

    As for Rememberance Day, I have long wondered why Canada is so proud of its 20th Century war heroes. The two world wars had nothing to do with Canada. Canada sacrificed so much and gained so little during those wars, it was a complete waste of Canadian lives. Canada is an inherently peaceful and industrious nation. Why they want to cling to such a sad and wasted history of war is beyond me.

    Perhaps as an American I am not supposed to understand it. But when I think of great Canadians, I don't think of soldiers fighting wars for European aristocrats, I think of great explorers and an unyielding spirit that has managed to tame an unfathomably harsh environment and turn it into a land of plenty. Where is the Canadian holiday to celebrate that?