Don’t get me wrong. I can be as jingoistic as the next guy. I’ll be among the thousands on Bayshore Boulevard Wednesday morning. I’ll be there with a flag, a ladder and a camera. I want to be part of something good that comes out of something evil. I also want to update my seared consciousness with united-we-stand images.
But the media-led, societal countdown to Sept. 11 — and all of the planned remembrances for that day — may be so much more than we need right now. It’s the patriotic counterpart of media drum beating for hurricane season. It’s important; it’s necessary; it’s just overdone.
In the name of good taste, it mustn’t be festive. In the name of good mental health, it must be more than a haunting memory of America under attack and a solemn eulogy to the fallen.
Here is a modest suggestion. It’s offered in the good name of remembering victims and heroes, recalling who and what we are, and reaffirming why we must win the war against Islamic extremism.
Wouldn’t it be fitting if, at 8:46 a.m. — when American Flight 11 crashed into the World Trade Center north tower — every church, mosque and synagogue with a bell would ring it? It would call all Americans to a collective, reflective moment. And it would do so inclusively. No hyphens allowed.
It would remind us — regardless of where we are and what we’re doing — to stop and reflect. And remember what we all lost; what we still have; and why we fight to keep it.
Stopped at a red light? Smile and nod to the motorist next to you. At the office? Extend a hand or give a hug. At home? Kiss the kids again.
It wouldn’t be a spectacle and wouldn’t require choreography. And that’s the point.