I am writing to say how disappointed I am with what I had seen or, more to the point, what I did not see in your paper on Tuesday, Sept. 11.
That was the 17th anniversary of the radical Islamic terrorists attack on us as a nation that murdered over 3,000 Americans, although if I relied solely on the Triplicate I might not have known. I wasn’t expecting an entire issue to commemorate the Americans who sacrificed all that day, but I did hope for more than just a snippet from the former district attorney that was hidden on the bottom of the page and then stowed on page 3.
Even on your Op-Ed page it was not even addressed, but you did give a large piece to a writer (that isn’t even from California much less our part of it) who also chose to ignore the significance of the day and instead focused on an spinning an event that happened in another state and make it a hate piece about President Trump. The only thing on the entire page that even hinted at why we all should be remembering that day was an illustration that said “Already Starting to Fade!” and given the lack of emphasis from the Triplicate I am forced to agree. Because we have forgotten. We choose to forget. On Tuesday, Sept., 11, I had to go into our local Walmart and tell several employees that they needed to take their flag down to half mast. You would think I was from outer space the looks I got from them This is supposed to be the “All American” store, born in our heartland and prosperous… but even they forgot. It took an angry veteran to point out their error, and half a day for them to show the proper respect that those heros from 17 years ago deserved.
It’s not patriotism that I am asking for, you can’t teach that. It’s more basic than that, it’s respect that needs to be emphasized. And I am sad to say that as a society we have failed our children because we have failed to teach them the lessons we learned so that they will not repeat our mistakes.
By not putting any importance on that day, your paper is remiss in its duty to inform and improve the knowledge of its readers and their children.
I am a veteran of our military that was standing by to be mobilized that day. Like most Americans, I sat in horror as I watched those planes hit the towers, I felt the anger and the fear. I saw the people that chose to jump to their deaths from hundreds of feet rather than be burned alive. I held my children close to me as I had to tell them that I might have to go.
But I also saw the flags wave proudly in national solidarity. I saw citizens of all colors and creeds do what they could to help each other in their times of need. I saw our leaders, Republican and Democrat, standing on the steps of our capital joining hands and singing “God Bless America.”
I saw unity, I felt hope, I felt pride.
But now I see that rather than remember that as Americans we did not allow ourselves to give in to terrorism but stood our ground and fought back, that it is more fashionable to deflect people’s thoughts to anything else.
I say that we must dare to remember that day, that terrible day. And that we must honor those heroes who truly did sacrifice everything by running into those burning buildings, and the ones that rose up from their seats and rushed the terrorists, knowing that they might not see the next day. How many were Republicans? Democrats? White? Black? Asian? Jews? Christian? Muslim? Does it matter? No, I think not.
But what is important, the very thing that is getting forgotten is that we as a nation were attacked and as a Nation united in our cause, made our voices heard around the world. And out of that rubble we rebuilt a stronger America, and that we would not forget the sting of that day or the true bravery we witnessed.
John Barker is a veteran and lives in Crescent City.