Seventeen years ago I was a college student in Southern California, and by the time I woke up to get ready for class, my roommate was watching cable news as the horrors of that morning unfolded. Being in Southern California, I felt a bit behind the news, as things were moving fast and were already in progress by the time I became aware of it, even with morning classes that got me up earlier than many of the college students that September morning who slept in. I have at times pondered on this event  and its meaning and repercussions, and this year provided an opportunity to do so, as at least one morning news figure inserted his foot in his mouth by trying to make this day about him and his own petty political grievances rather than about the horrors of that day and the changes it made in society. Like many people, I remember the people who died in and around those towers, and especially those who gave their lives on Flight 93 preventing worse disaster or among the first responders seeking to save life only to give up their own.
Yet the past is not the only thing I remember on a day like today. Like many people today, I find my attention often distracted by the state of the world. And for someone as easily distracted as I am, there is much to ponder over. There are laughable comments stating that the temper-tantrum throwing Serena Williams was a victim of some sort of imaginary patriarchy by losing a game against her opponent in the finals of the US Open. There are sobering moments of threat like reflecting on the major hurricane that is approaching the Carolinas, set to dump large amounts of rain and cause serious damage along the East Coast. There are issues like a recent hung election in Sweden or an upcoming election in Brazil that demonstrate the corruption of so many political orders and the absence of clear cut answers about where these societies should go for good governance. There are matters like the misguided and indeed satanic insistence of our current Pope that to bring the sins of sexual abuse to light is to aid in the work of Satan. It is the truth that sets one free, and God that reveals every secret thing. It is instead satanic to seek to hide what is evil rather than to face it and own it and overcome it.
And it is not only the world outside that sparks my memory this day. As I returned to work today after being off yesterday to celebrate the Feast of Trumpets, I had to note the somewhat chaotic nature of our IT department, which had made a mapping chance that screwed up most of our access to drives and was still not fixed this morning. I was also told about my involvement in a class action settlement involving Ticketmaster/Live Nation that ended up netting me quite a few free ticket vouchers based on my own purchase of quite a few tickets for concerts in the period between 1999 and 2013, none of which, sadly, made it onto this blog (although some of those concerts would have made for great blog entries). Now that I have these ticket vouchers, I mourn the fact that I have no one to go with me to these concerts, since they are vouchers for two general admission tickets. Perhaps that is a problem I will be able to solve by the time they expire in 2020, although it does not seem as if there are any immediate solutions to this issue. At any rate, it is strange to me that this day should remind me of loss and loneliness and chaos, and that these elements should be present even now, although what is going on right now pales in comparison to the events that made this day worth being remembered in 2001, a lesson that some people still have yet to learn.
Yet on a day like today, we are reminded that the memory of a day depends much on where we stand. For everyone who thinks of this day and ponders their feelings and memories, and who thinks about how it was like for other people who died on this day or who served to help others who were directly affected for this day, there seems to be someone who wants to use this day to make current political hay. It is one thing to know that this is unwise and to bemoan the lack of wisdom for those who try to make contemporary political capital in our own petty disputes over power in our divided country. It is another to have so little sense of proportion to make that kind of comparison in the first place. Can we really compare contemporary political annoyances to Islamist terrorists? There are only a few forces in our contemporary political scene–like Antifa–that are even remotely near in terms of their violent hostility towards legitimate order within the United States–and even that sort of threat has nowhere near the deadliness (thanks be to God!) as the terrorists who hijaked planes and warred on the people of the United States. Let us hope that our troubles never get to the point where such comparisons between anything else and what happened on 9/11/2001 will be a just and appropriate comparison.
 See, for example: