Bloggers showcase diverse ways of remembering 9/11 five years out. They are also perplexed at CNN's online replay of its full broadcast coverage on the Web.
Sept. 11 has become a "where were you when …" moment for many bloggers, including law professor and moderate Ann Althouse, who relates the power that moment still has over her: "Still today, almost every time I walk between those two old university buildings, toward the street crossing where I first heard the news, I think about how I believed everything we had presumed to build was doomed and that we were victims of the illusion that we could build things and expect them to stand," she writes, before finding balm in America's political differences: "Our insistence on disaggregating is part of what we are: fierce individuals who will not let anyone take away our freedom."
Countless others reflect on the moment they heard. Kyrie, the self-described Army wife behind the 82nd Chairborne Division, was painting miniatures in her house in Maryland; West Coaster Bitch Ph.D. woke up at 6:30 a.m. PT and "immediately noticed that NPR was off it's game" before turning on her television; and JT at Wizbang was driving to work, listening to talk radio." Wonkette's ever saucy Alex Pareene is apparently fed up by such retellings: "Unless you were buried in the rubble of the north tower alongside a mustachioed Nic Cage, your story is completely uninteresting and can be repeated almost verbatim by 3 or 4 million other Americans," he opines.
At the National ReviewOnline's The Corner, Kathryn Jean Lopez is still struck by the towers' absence: "Like most, I still notice when I pass the World Trade Center area, from lower Manhattan, or from across the River, that those towers are missing. This morning I noted it missing from the skyline — from the George Washington Bridge, than as I turned onto Lexington Avenue again. I got mad all over again. I'm sure I'm not the only one." Dem superblogger Matthew Yglesias, who grew up on 12th Street with a view of the towers, wishes for an unpartisan way to memorialize this day: "[T]here ought to be some neutral zone from which to critique the administration's crass politicization of American pain and American memory. But it's not, I think, realistic. National myths, national anniversaries, national memory of big events is always political. It only starts to look apolitical if one side or another decisively wins the battle for interpretation."
Others find comfort in partisanship, including conservative Charles Johnson at Little Green Footballs, who links to a video and adds, "The latest Democratic/Islamist talking point making the rounds of the media is that the US (via the Bush administration) 'squandered' the world's good will after the 9/11 attacks, by fighting back against Islamic terrorism. But was this 'good will' a reality, or is it another multicultural myth?" he wonders. Andrew Sullivan is not in a particularly reflective mood today: "No speeches or sermons or recollections from me today. Just a stream of posts designed to show what al Qaeda and the Islamo-fascists have not yet destroyed: our freedom as Westerners." Starting with a video of the Buckingham Palace band playing the "Star Spangled Banner" and calling for reader submissions, Sully writes that he will post anything that promises "to gall Islamists everywhere."
One of the liberal Chicago Boyz, Steven Den Beste, views 9/11 not as a uniter, but as a divider: "9/11 didn't bring us together. It's true that in the immediate aftermath of the event that we all felt sadness and rage. But not about the same things. … Some of us were anguished because we feared that there might be further and more devastating terrorist attacks against us. Others were anguished because they feared that this might inspire an entirely new round of bloody military aggression by America against innocent people around the world." Roxanne Cooper at Rox Populi takes the opposite view, mourning the passing of the America briefly united after 9/11. "What we've forgotten too quickly is the outpouring of affection and unity that swelled against all odds in the wake of Al Qaeda's act of mass murder," she notes.
Writing in the Guardian's Comment is Free, Sir Simon Jenkins examines terrorism's aftershock, finding the "new politico-media complex" culpable for magnifying it: "Terrorism is 10% bang and 90% an echo effect composed of media hysteria, political overkill and kneejerk executive action, usually retribution against some wider group treated as collectively responsible," he writes.
Quoting Simon Jenkins' post at length, Vanity Fair's James Wolcott will be commemorating the anniversary on his own terms: "I'll be in Cape May this 9/11, as I was on the 9/11 of 2001, and the ones before and since. I don't intend to watch any of the memorial coverage, listen to the radio, or pore over the newspaper supplements. It'll be a day for going to the beach … a day for tuning out the too-talkative world. The vapor trails of jets flying overhead will be all the reminder one needs of that September morning," he writes.
Read more about 9/11's fifth anniversary.