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9/11 Families about politicizing the day

Elise Cooper for BLACKFIVE

As 9-11 approaches Blackfive has asked the victim families how they should be honored.  The anniversary of September 11th has become a political football between the left and the right.  Unequivocally the family members state that they do not want this day to be used for political purposes.

Recently there have been conservative writers who have criticized the Obama administration for diluting the meaning of 9-11.  They point out that the Obama administration is trying to whitewash the memory of what happened on that day by solely making it a day of service. Mathew Vadum, a writer for American Spectator, pointed out to Blackfive that those associated with the day of service planning are “leftists Barbara Lee and Reverend Yearwood who are trying to insert their own views of social justice for this solemn day in American history.”  Vadum explained to Blackfive that on the White House official blog of August 4th there is a posting by Van Jones, another leftist who is President Obama’s green czar.  He stated that “in it he talks about the 9-11 national service day and leaves out the part of also needing it to be a day of remembrance.”

The consensus was that they do not want Americans to forget.  John Hamilothoris, who lost a fellow Police friend, felt that “people always forget the lessons of the past.”  Joe Holland who lost a son at the World Trade Center summed up how all those interviewed felt by stating that “what happened to remembrance, what happened to honoring those that died.”

With the recent controversy over having a national service day on 9-11, an organization that is supported and accepted by many 9-11 families has been caught in the middle. was started by David Paine and Jay Winuk (who lost a brother at the World Trade Center) in order to create a legacy around that day that involved both chapters of 9-11:  the tragic loss of Americans by terrorists and the good deeds done by Americans on that day and the days following. David Paine explained that “we don’t want to transform 9-11 from a day of remembrance to a day of service.  It has to be forever linked and reflected on what happened on that day. ..The consensus within the 9-11 community is that we wanted it to be non-profit, voluntary, privately funded, not government organized, and have Americans do simple good deeds in addition to the memorial service.”

Alice Hoagland who lost a son on United Flight 93 is a board member of the Good Deeds organization.  She as well as over 100 other families has decided that they would like a combination of remembrance with memorial services, moments of silence, as well as doing a good deed for a fellow American.  She stated that “I can’t think of a better way to honor and commemorate September 11th.”  Debra Burlingame felt that there is a definite need to make sure all components are considered on this generations “day of infamy.”  She further stated that “there is nothing wrong in doing good deeds in honor of those who died doing good service on September 11th.  It’s good to teach future generations about how we responded to the worst attack on the American homeland in the history of this country.  However, it disturbs me that the word REMEMBERANCE is getting lopped off in many of these news stories.”

The families want the memory of 9-11 to sustain through the years and for future generations to understand that on this special day innocent citizens lost their lives to terrorists but there was also another side where the country spontaneously rose in service and unity. The former Director of Domestic Policy during President George W. Bush’s administration, John Bridgeland, pointed out that the administration wanted to create a spirit combining all the attributes demonstrated on 9-11 by making sure “it’s a day of remembrance, reflection, and organic volunteerism.”  Gordon Haberman who lost a daughter at the World Trade Center sadly pointed out that “9-11 will always be a day of remembrance for me but 20 – 30 years from now that won’t be the case for the American public.”

In addition, the families want Americans to remember those in the military that volunteered to go to war to fight the terrorists and protect America.  As Debra Burlingame so eloquently stated, “We cannot forget the men dying in uniform.  Those are the people who have done the heaviest lifting when it comes to serving this country; when it comes to 9-11.  We need to teach future generations what happened as well as the response.”