Not a dry eye in the house

Donald Rumsfeld as announced a, well, odd memorial, a tonedeaf commemoration, a tasteless tribute planned for the Pentagon the fourth anniversary of 9/11. Says the NY Daily News:

The Pentagon will hold a massive march and country music concert to mark the fourth anniversary of 9/11, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said in an unusual announcement tucked into an Iraq war briefing yesterday.

“This year the Department of Defense will initiate an America Supports You Freedom Walk,” Rumsfeld said, adding that the march would remind people of “the sacrifices of this generation and of each previous generation.”

The march will start at the Pentagon, where nearly 200 people died on 9/11, and end at the National Mall with a show by country star Clint Black.

He lost me with the Clint Black concert.

I can understand a walk — a candelight vigil by daylight. I can understand a display of patriotism — this is the Pentagon and that was an attack on our nation. On a different day, I could go so far as to understand a concert to raise money for the Pentagon memorial, even a country-western concert with some good, old American pride.

But a county-western concert on the day and in the place of the tragedy? What’s next: line-dancing on the graves?

Here’s the official FAQ. The event has big and surprising sponsors, even the Washington Post:

Q: Who is supporting the Freedom Walk?
R: The America Supports You Freedom Walk enjoys the support of Stars and Stripes newspaper, Pentagon Federal Credit Union, Subway, Lockheed Martin, The Washington Post, WTOP Radio Network, and ABC WJLA-TV Channel 7 & NewsChannel 8, among others.

And it turns out this will be coming to a town near you, with or without Clint Black:

Q: Why is DoD organizing this event?
R: Since September 11, 2001, the Pentagon has provided citizens with opportunities to commemorate September 11 in meaningful ways. The America Supports You Freedom Walk is the fourth September 11 commemorative activity sponsored by the DoD. The goal for the 5th anniversary in 2006 is for each state to host a Freedom Walk in order to provide an opportunity for as many citizens as possible to reflect on the importance of freedom.

Here’s the DoD press release. Here’s the site where you register to walk.

: Check out this video interview on (where I also work) with the cast and crew of the Dukes of Hazard: The director says he was inspired to make the movie by 9/11 because what we need is a good, shit-kicking American movie.

Can’t wait to see Daisy at the memorial concert.

: LATER: Michele Catalano:

The word “crass” immediately comes to mind. Call me crazy, but I just don’t think that a commemoration of 9/11 should be mixed in with a “support the troops” march. You know what this is? A thinly veiled pro-war rally. And concert! …

It’s four years later. I think at this point we should be diminishing the pomp and circumstance of the commememorations, not addding to it. The purpose of the event is “to remember the victims of September 11, honor our troops and celebrate our freedom.” I don’t think it’s right to do those things together. It’s an opportunistic move designed to make people feel good about a war that a lot of people don’t feel good about it. Mixing the “let freedom ring” chorus in with the funeral dirge that is still ringing in the hearts of the victims’ families is just shy of vile.

I do support the troops. I do cherish my freedom. And I do like a good concert. But how those things fit in with remembering those who died on September 11, 2001 is beyond me. I think that at this point, the administration has chosen to remember the event, not the people. They’ve chosen to celebrate the start of a time of war rather than memorialize the end of nearly 3,000 lives.