Fast, to the point, and totally unbelievable.
Bill Clinton’s Flight 93 Memorial Dedication speech might be the best of the day
Rescue workers carry mortally injured New York City Fire Department chaplain Mychal Judge from the wreckage after he was killed by falling debris while administering last rites to another victim. A priest, a recovering alcoholic, a gay man, and a spiritual adviser and trusted friend to countless firefighters through the years, “Father Mike” was the first recorded victim of the September 11 attacks.
Photographer Shannon Stapleton’s picture, which burns with immediacy and yet somehow feels composed, almost painterly, captures much of the day’s intense incongruities in one sombre frame: the intimacy of witnessing a single death in the midst of a monumental catastrophe; brilliant sunlight shining on the chaplain’s lifeless hands; devastated first responders shrugging off exhaustion, racing to the aid of helpless victims.
Here is the best, and the very worst, of that day: In Praise of 9/11 First Responders
If terror challenges democracy, the answer is more democracy, not less; more accountability and openness, not less. The question is whether the secret power we have allowed to spring up in our name is under any kind of democratic control. Do our elected representatives keep our secret agencies under sufficient scrutiny? Does the press know what is being done in our name?
We have paid for sovereign failure with secret government. Most people accept this, because our enemies have not prevailed. The mastermind is dead, his remains scattered at sea. His followers are in hiding and know they will be pursued to the ends of the earth.
But they created the apocalyptic standard, and the risk now is not just al-Qaeda but any group with the desire and capacity to emulate it."
Ten Years Later: A Tribute 9/11
My favorite 9/11 tribute in New York City can be found in Bryant Park. 2,819 empty chairs are set up on the lawn facing the site where the World Trade Center once stood, one chair for every life lost. The number of empty chairs captures the enormity of the lives lost and the stark emptiness of it just drives home the point that I hope is never forgotten. 2,819 people were here one moment and gone the next. 2,819 went to work or boarded a plane one morning ten years ago thinking it would be another ordinary day and they never came home.
Bryant Park says the total is 2,753, but rather than reflecting on the exact number of chairs there, let’s reflect on the fact that this is an epic display of affection for the victims of September 11, 2001.
I’ve long been grateful to The Onion for its September 26, 2001 issue. Most simply, it allowed me to smile again.
Pictured above from that issue (and with apologies to the source since I’ve forgotten where I downloaded it from): God Angrily Clarifies ‘Don’t Kill’ Rule and US Vows to Defeat Whoever it is We’re at War With.
In a 2004 interview, Zack Stalberg, Editor of the Philadelphia Daily News and former Pulitzer Prize judge, told Editor & Publisher that he put The Onion up for consideration for a the prize’s commentary category:
“As it went around the table, you could see that people were blown away by this work,” Stalberg said about the entry, which included the paper’s mock Sept. 11 coverage. “But it was a little too different, a little too risky. I voted to make it a finalist, but nobody else did.”
Agreed; these guys were champs. My favorite came a few weeks later: