More pep rally morality. The talking heads prod our emotions, nodding gravely at this and that, cheapening not only grief but rendering the word " hero" all but meaningless. Does anyone really believe that those poor souls on United 93 were trying to keep the plane from crashing into the Capitol? They knew what the score was and they knew their only chance at survival was to take control of the plane. That fact doesn't make their attempt any less impressive or any less tragic. But it does make it more real. I caught our President (who I still like, by the way) murmuring something about God during the speachifying. I realize we humans have mental short circuit that how God is on our side even though 3000 people got buried in the rubble but isn't God the reason this whole mess got started? A moment of silence would do. And during that moment of silence our leaders ought to reflect on acting in manner that insures that the cure isn't worse than the disease.
So, in essence, we have set up two monuments to really, really bad luck. Just being in the wrong place at the wrong time doesn't make you a hero. Heroes rush into burning buildings, jump on grenades, shit like that. Arlin Williams on Air Florida Flight 90 who kept passing people to safety as he slowly lost his grip in the freezing river and slipped under - man, that makes you proud to be human. Pat Tillman - giving up a life of privilege to join up and get killed accidentally by his own men - he qualifies. I may be part of the last American generation that grew up with fathers who more often than not served in the military. In my neighborhood it was unusual for a male not to have been in the service. And a good percentage of those who did were combat veterans. Silver Stars, Purple Hearts, lots of Bronze Stars but not a lot of bragging. And not a lot of media stroking like you hear now. It was just kind of assumed. They were just guys, fathers and uncles, flawed and human, not the mass manufactured heroic icons the media likes to present. My Dad kept busy - got a degree, made a living. He didn't talk about the war much except a couple times when he was drunk. Mostly he would talk about how random it was – wondering why he made it and others didn't and how his 50 caliber guns could have been made of wood for all the good they did him. There was really nothing that he could control. And I never heard him use the word hero.