Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Enough Of Some 9/11 Families, Let's Honor Our Fallen Soldiers

Visitors to my web site are familiar with a section titled 5 O’s.

That stands for Obviously Outspoken Occasionally Obnoxious Opinions, which is a tongue in cheek way of saying, that sometimes what may just be outspoken or bold opinions can be perceived by some people to be obnoxious or offensive.

Now, let’s be clear. Yes, there are some topics that can be obnoxious, and other topics can be offensive. Some so-called shock-jocks like Howard Stern tend to fall in that category, when they discuss ridiculously perverted or just plain dumb sexual situations or other such non-intellectual topics.

Others, like the brilliant Bill Maher, or Jon Stewart, just have such strong opinions, and the confidence to express them - because our great nation allows us that freedom. Yet, sometimes their critics will label opinions of people like Bill Maher, Stephen Colbert, and even humble yours truly, offensive or obnoxious, simply because they get uncomfortable discussing touchy subjects.

Some examples of such touchy subjects in our otherwise free-speech loving country tend to be discussions about Jews and American support for Israel, the Israeli lobby’s influence on US policy, the invasion of the USA by illegal immigrants, or even discussing racial background of criminals when looking at crime statistics in the city, and other such taboo topics.

There is one topic that I have been patiently observing for several years and I just cannot take it anymore. I am going to speak out on the survivors of the 9/11 victims who had died at the World Trade Center.

Some people may think it is offensive or obnoxious to criticize a particular group that suffered such a tragedy. But, this is not an attack on them or on their tragic loss. Someone has to speak out on this serious topic and I am going to do it. I am sure I will be criticized for it but I have to say this. I have to say this because they are asking for it with the way they are handling themselves on issues like the WTC memorial etc.

I completely and totally sympathize with our fellow Americans who died in the evil terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. (Do read my piece about the twin towers after you have read this article.)

These were ordinary people, from different backgrounds, all simply going to work when they were killed by a terrorist action to bring down the twin towers. Unlike the people in the Pentagon or anyplace else, the people at the World Trade Center were not soldiers, not war planners, but regular people. Their only crime was to be American and to work in a building that was a symbol of our economy. When that symbol was attacked, they were killed, not because they chose to stand up to terrorists, but because they happened to be there.

So, God Bless their souls, but they did NOT choose to go to their deaths for the country. The police teams, and even more, the firefighters who went in, while others were running out, are heroes and heroines – but we seem to have made it a national assumption of treating the VICTIMS of the World Trade Center as some sort of unsung war heroes of our great nation.

Don’t get me wrong. I have friends who lost loved ones in that building that day. But, I cannot understand how they are being treated like war heroes, or even better.

I was amazed at our government paying millions of Dollars to the survivors of the 9/11 victims – above and beyond what their own insurances must have paid them. I thought it was a well-meaning gesture, but foolish and also a bad precedent.

Would we pay tax payer money to the survivors of every American who is killed in a terror attack? Would a certain number of people have to die for them to qualify? Would the family of an American killed at a resort in Egypt by terrorists also be paid the same money? What kind of terror attack would it have to be? Would it have to be an attack personally approved by Bin Laden for the survivors to get paid at the same rate as the 9/11 families?

If a terror attack happened on the Long Island Expressway and a part of it was blown up, would we forever stop traffic on that road? Why do families of 9/11 victims have the right to decide what part of a national tragedy’s audio recordings can be heard by the world or not? When a plane crash occurs in normal times, why are the families of the dead pilots not allowed the choice to not letting the recordings of the plane’s cockpit voice recorder released to the public?

These and many other questions were raised, but ignored, because it was a national tragedy.

In the meantime, I have seen news items that show some of the 9/11 families basically dictating to the city what to do with its real estate and future development plans. I see news items where they DEMAND how THEY want the World Trade Center area to be developed. They are acting as if their accidental inclusion in a group of people we sympathize with has made them owners or shareholders in Manhattan real estate that they do not own.

In my humble opinion, these people, who were well compensated financially by our great nation for their loss, have no business telling Hollywood what movies to make about 9/11. They have no business telling the city what and how to build at the WTC site. They suffered a tragic loss, and we mourn WITH them, as Americans. But, enough is enough. They need to get on with their lives and they need to stop bullying the city and our nation into doing things to make them feel better.

In the meantime, God Bless our actual soldiers, our brave troops and their families.

God Bless the soldiers who died for US, for MY freedom even if you and I oppose the illegal war in Iraq. God Bless the families and survivors of the 2500 brave Americans who have died by serving by CHOICE, but whose families have not made any fuss, any demands, any bullying tactics for us to pamper them.

How come we seem to have paid MORE to the families of 9/11 victims than to the true heroes, our soldiers unquestioningly serving and dying for our nation in Iraq, Afghanistan and other places? How come there is no one trying to raise ONE BILLION DOLLARS for a memorial for our 2500 SOLDIERS that were killed in Iraq and Afghanistan?

That’s just not right. It is time for the 9/11 families to move on, get off the stage, and instead of making demands on what the WTC Memorial should look like, they ought to start working to collect money for the 2500 who willingly went to their deaths to protect our nation, its honor and its citizens. What do you think?

Read: MY WTC
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