Today is September 11.
Before 2001, it was a date remembered solely for birthdays or wedding anniversaries and such. However, in 2001, it was an awful day, when all hell literally broke loose and it seemed quite possible the world was coming to a screeching halt. Now we remember September 11 with images of fire, smoke, death, devastation and families forever changed. Correction: a nation forever changed, if not the entire world.
Earlier this week, I heard a local radio spot that began with sound bites from 09/11. They were what you'd expect -- highly emotional, confused citizens giving their accounts of the horrors they each witnessed. "Plane hitting the building," "explosion," and "people jumping out of buildings" were phrases I heard. And I am not ashamed to admit, simply revisiting those images in my own mind was enough to make my eyes fill with tears as I sat at the stoplight in my car.
Then the voice over starts promoting "a day to celebrate our freedom at [local bar], with $2 drinks and $2 appetizers..."
What. The. Hell?
Saying I was appalled doesn't even come close to touching this one.
This business has achieved a new, possibly never-before-attained level of tacky. Actually, it's more shocking and insulting from where I sit. My wonderful husband is a firefighter. I now have a completely different appreciation for what those brave men and women sacrificed that day in NYC. To rush into a building where hundreds of people are running out, knowing there is a better than likely chance you may not ever come out alive... well, that's just a level of heroism that not only reserves a seat for you in Heaven, but you'd probably also get a big hug and a high five from God himself.
Granted, the city in which we live isn't as metropolitan as New York City, it isn't a hub of international business and it isn't likely to be on a terrorist's hit list. (Although I believe a few people speculated our position soon after 09/11 to be much higher than originally assumed. Come on. Seriously? Fort Wayne?) Regardless, when Jeff is at work, I quite often send up little silent prayers for his safety, as well as his crew. Some days they don't even get a run; other days, it might be an EMS assist or auto accident clean up. On a rare occasion, they see a house fire. But things happen, and it's his job to ensure the safety of others in dangerous situations.
As for those who lost their lives eight years ago on 09/11, it wasn't only the victims and rescue crews who died. Families and friends of those people lost life as they knew it, no longer able to share it with those who perished.
So, to this local business ... that may have had good intentions in remembering the tragedy of 09/11 ... all I can say is You. Have. Failed. And failed miserably. And, quite possibly, offended many. I cannot speak for others, but I don't think I'm alone in saying I will remember the history of this date with somber reflection and respect. Not with your drink specials and half-price appetizers. Nor will I look to whichever band you have booked to play on the live stage in your parking lot for comfort. You go ahead and eat, drink and be merry. Feel free to celebrate your freedom with alcohol, greasy food and loud music.
I, on the other hand, am heading to the garage to get our American flag.