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Leo Cullum might not be in the 9/11 history books, but he's in the memory of a generation of thankful New Yorkers.

There are a lot of things to remember and reflect upon during the anniversary of September, 11. And plenty of people will be telling their stories of grief, rage, human kindness and patriotism. So, Lester & Charlie are going to focus on someone who might get overlooked: Leo Cullum.

Leo Cullum, who died a couple years ago, was a TWA pilot and a cartoonist for The New Yorker. And Leo turned out to be the person who answered  the question that was on everyone's mind following the attacks: When will it be OK to laugh again?

It might not sound that important, but back then, there was a feeling that terrorists not only took away our skyline and businesses and families, but that maybe they had stolen what Americans always rely on to survive a crisis: our sense of humor.

So, he published this.

This simple cartoon gave New Yorkers a collective sigh of relief when they really, really needed it. It reminded us that laughter makes us stronger, not weaker. And that we, as Americans and New Yorkers, weren't going to let anybody take that away from us.

Thanks, Leo.

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Comment Preferences

  •  This was the first thing that made me laugh, which (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    maxfolger, Chun Yang, CwV, jayden, blue91

    surprised even me at the time. It's from The Onion.

    God Angrily Clarifies 'Don't Kill' Rule
    News • God • ISSUE 37•34 • Sep 26, 2001

    NEW YORK — Responding to recent events on Earth, God, the omniscient creator-deity worshipped by billions of followers of various faiths for more than 6,000 years, angrily clarified His longtime stance against humans killing each other Monday.

    "Look, I don't know, maybe I haven't made myself completely clear, so for the record, here it is again," said the Lord, His divine face betraying visible emotion during a press conference near the site of the fallen Twin Towers. "Somehow, people keep coming up with the idea that I want them to kill their neighbor. Well, I don't. And to be honest, I'm really getting sick and tired of it. Get it straight. Not only do I not want anybody to kill anyone, but I specifically commanded you not to, in really simple terms that anybody ought to be able to understand."

    "I tried to put it in the simplest possible terms for you people, so you'd get it straight, because I thought it was pretty important," said God, called Yahweh and Allah respectively in the Judaic and Muslim traditions. "I guess I figured I'd left no real room for confusion after putting it in a four-word sentence with one-syllable words, on the tablets I gave to Moses. How much more clear can I get?"

    Check out my progressive tshirts & gear: DemSwag.com or my hand-drawn reproduction of Rachel's Excelsior Poster from Friends available on cards, stickers, curtains etc.

    by Eileen B on Wed Sep 11, 2013 at 11:38:06 PM PDT

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