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Anniversaries about tragedies are supposed to inspire us to move forward. How is that working out?

In 2009 I wrote a diary about how the metaphysical significance of the Gregorian calendar only means that the Earth has orbited the Sun to the same location since the last time we called it "September 11th"; and yet, it's not the same location in space at all.

In 2008 I wrote that if we're really worried about the loss of 2978 lives, we're not worried about saving the next 2978 as much as we care about who's to blame for their deaths. We ignore things that we could easily change that would save them - but choose not to because the effort required from us as individuals is inconvenient. Instead, we tilt at windmills over stuff that is largely not under our control, because ranting about it gathers a larger and more bloodthirsty crowd that is easily manipulated for many other ends.
 
I went to Purdue University, where a legend which involves the phrase "one brick higher" is recalled.

Follow me, one brick higher, if you will, please.

The "new" bell tower was erected at Purdue University my first semester there in 1995. I say "new" because it was the third, and the history of how it came to be and it's significance is told on a bronze medallion at the base of the tower:

The Plaque beneath the bell tower at Purdue University

The Plaque beneath the bell tower at Purdue University

The medallion reads:

"On January 19, 1894, Purdue University dedicated Heavilon Hall, an engineering laboratory with a tower that soared above the modest skyline of the fledgling campus. Four days later, the structure lay in ruins, destroyed by (a boiler) explosion and fire. Amid the shock and tears of the disaster, Purdue President James Stewart issued a rallying cry that crystallized the spirit of the university:

"That tower shall go up one brick higher"

It did go up again - nine bricks higher, according to legend - and the rebuilt Heavilon Hall and tower remained a campus landmark until they were razed in 1956. The four bells from the rebuilt tower, which tolled the hours and class times for generations of Purdue students, fell silent for almost 40 years. The Heavilon Hall bell now ring again in the belfry above, reminding all who hear their joyous peals that our Univeristy will ever strive to build "one brick higher".

I think we should put the original Twin Towers back up just as they stood in 2001 - only modernized to 2010 standards and maybe even make them the first 20,000 occupant buildings that can be evacuated in 20 minutes if we want to make a statement.

Right now, any Al Queda terrorist and disgruntled Muslim will always be able to look at every movie that has those two buildings in them and say, "heh, we did that. And they couldn't stop us, and we changed their plans to this day" - as if somehow on September 10, 2001 all of America really looked at those two buildings and thought we wanted something different in their place. How many of us thought we needed a "Freedom Tower" on September 10, 2001 - because without one the world might not know that Freedom was something we embodied?

Maybe it's too late now - but a building that has to put "freedom" in it's name is a bit cheezy for me. It's like Rush Limbaugh putting "Excellence" in the "Excellence In Broadcasting" network. If Limbaugh's network really is the embodiment of excellence, he wouldn't need to put it in the name. If America really is emblimatic of freedom, we would not feel such a need to trademark it and stencil it onto everything that we can find room to squeeze it on, then sell it.

I have a quote that I cannot find precise attribution for, but I find it telling about all the self-proclaimed "patriots" who think that they alone know what "freedom" (TM) and "liberty" look, feel, and taste like:

"When your work speaks for itself, don't interrupt."

We wouldn't need to put up a "Freedom Tower" if the country itself really stood as it's own monument, any more than we would need to call "French Fries" "Freedom Fries" just to thumb our noses at the French.

I always wondered what would have happened if the 9/11 hijackers had taken out the Statue Of Liberty - would Republicans in the US turned down an offer from the French to make us a new one? That would have been classy.

I don't come here as much as I used do; too much abject hostility amongst those of us who are (according to the Right) blindly monolithic in our thinking. If that were only true...

If that were true, we wouldn't need a blog to hash out our differences.

Same goes for our country; yes, there is freedom of speech and freedom of worship -

But for the love of all that could be called American, when Americans only seem to use that "freedom" to tell other Americans that they are full of shit, dangerous, and unwelcome, are we really so proud of it?

Bin Laden must be laughing his ass off at us. We're eating ourselves from the inside, and he doesn't have to do a goddamn thing any more.

We ought not to be this hungry.

Originally posted to snafubar on Sat Sep 11, 2010 at 12:03 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Edger, ChocolateChris, mrsgoo, marigold

    George Orwell is banging on the lid of his coffin and screaming, "1984 was a cautionary tale, you dolts, not a motivational speech!"

    by snafubar on Sat Sep 11, 2010 at 12:03:17 PM PDT

  •  Yeah, I'm with you. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    snafubar, ChocolateChris, mrsgoo

    The design is timid and the name is stupid. Put them back exactly as they were, once brick higher. I like it.

    British Petroleum: I think that means it's foreign oil.

    by Bensdad on Sat Sep 11, 2010 at 12:31:45 PM PDT

    •  Thank you. I think largely I'm alone on this one (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ChocolateChris, mrsgoo

      not the least of which by those who will spend the money to build the next buildings on "ground zero"

      The whole thing makes me sad; no one ever asks what name we will give to the next terrorist act on American soil - or why we never called the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City by the same moniker.

      Play this whole thing out long enough, if the terrorists were really clever, if they caused more than 365 acts of terror, based on our current naming convention, we'd have to change the calendar just to make sure we still had a unique way to refer to them.

      If you read the essay on "The fourth Dimension" that I linked to, I can only imagine the satisfaction that any of the 9/11 victims families might feel if they, like I wish I could, were able to stand at the base of two towers which looked from the outside the same as the two that I stood beneath in 1975;

      Then we could say that the terrorists didn't change us.

      Right now, we can't - and the buildings aren't the only reason why.

      I also wonder when I hear those who say "9/11 changed everything" who also call themselves 'Strict (Constitutional) Constructionists' - if 9/11 really did change everything, does that include the Constitution? Would they have to use such a concept to explain Bush/Cheney's disregard for the Constitution when they set out to "go to the dark side" and "smoke 'em out" with a war that was undeclared, followed none of the other rules we used for 'war'; and included warrantless wiretaps and indefinite detentions?

      Take a poll of how many people you know who are aware that Jose Padilla, one of the only people convicted by Bush's DOJ, was an American Citizen, born in Brooklyn NY, and arrested at O'Hare airport in Chicago - hardly a "battlefield" as we define it.

      And let me know if your count is as sadly reflective of the ignorance of your friends and neighbors as mine is.

      These are questions that have only been answered by the implicit changes we see in ourselves in these last nine years; which so many people excuse or deny.

      Thanks for your comment.

      George Orwell is banging on the lid of his coffin and screaming, "1984 was a cautionary tale, you dolts, not a motivational speech!"

      by snafubar on Sat Sep 11, 2010 at 01:10:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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