The ‘griping’ of the 9/11 families
: Mark McCormick, a columnist on the Witchita Eagle, says he has had his fill of hearing complaints from the families of the victims of 9/11.
He tiptoes up to that most delicate subject as gingerly as he can. He starts by telling the story of an airplane crash almost 40 years ago that took the lives of his grandmother, uncle, and 5-year-old cousin. But he says that the families of those victims did the best they could to move on.
That’s why I found the criticism of the trade center memorial by surviving family members so disturbing.
This follows other complaints from family members about federal settlements averaging $1.6 million offered in exchange for not filing wrongful-death suits against the airlines.
They’re hurting, and that’s easy to understand. But they’re acting as if they are the only people in the world who’ve ever lost a loved one to tragedy. Somehow they’ve come to believe the memorial belongs only to them.
The 9/11 attacks touched us all — if not through agonizing hours of dialing and redialing into busy signals in an attempt to reach loved ones in the crumbled twin towers, then through the ever-present thoughts that maybe it can happen here.
And since when does someone owe us something when we lose a loved one?
The families of the men and women killed in Afghanistan and Iraq while trying to prevent future terrorist attacks certainly won’t collect million-dollar checks. And as controversial as this war has become, U.S. soldiers may never get a memorial honoring their brave service….
My sister says my aunt likely gravitated to my nephews, my cousins and me because, as little boys, we didn’t remind her of the little girl she’d lost. She died in February 1995, and I can’t remember her ever complaining that someone owed her for the loss of her child.
And here we have people complaining about our society funding a multimillion-dollar memorial and million-dollar settlements?
Whatever happened to “thank you”?
A reader, Theron J. Abbott, sent me that link with the prediction that it could stir up some controversy and it probably will.
But McCormick is, from a distance, launching a backlash we could see coming.
The New York Post a few weeks ago approached the same topic even more gingerly, talking about the whether grief alone is the goal of the memorial.
No one can stand before the families of the victims of 9/11 in grief and recompense. But those families also need to remember that this is everyone’s loss, everyone’s tragedy and the memorial belongs to no one but future generations.