Friday, September 10, 2004

Patriot Day?

There’s a flyer next to the elevator in my building promoting a commemoration of 9/11 in front of the School Board building today. They’re calling it Patriot Day. My At-A-Glance desk calendar also notes that September 11 is called Patriot Day.

Excuse me, but when did that happen? Did Congress pass another Federal holiday? And where the hell do they get off calling it Patriot Day?

The events on that day had nothing to do with patriotism. The people who died were victims. The firemen and policemen who died trying to rescue the victims were doing their jobs to the best of their ability. I find it hard to make the connection to patriotism.

Patriotism is like religion; it is a highly personal thing, and I am suspicious of those who wave their love of country around like a flag – and with one. To put the label of “patriot” on 9/11 and suggest that we should somehow think of those events as having some link to our love of country cheapens both the events and the word. Besides, don’t we already have days that are more fittingly used to honor our nation and those who served it? The Fourth of July? Memorial Day? Veterans Day?

My calendar lists December 7 as Pearl Harbor Rememberance Day. There’s nothing jingoistic about that – it’s a reminder of the attack and those who died there. It’s not treated as an appeal to an emotion. Attaching an adjective like “patriot” to the events of 9/11 is a distraction and suggests that anyone who points out that perhaps we could have been better prepared (or paid attention to the PDB) is unpatriotic.

I’d be open to suggestions for a better name to commemorate that day. Readers?