On December 7, 2001, Peggy Noonan wrote an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal with the title used for this post. It is behind a pay wall, but here it is.
Here in New York we call what happened on Sept. 11 the greatest and most successful rescue effort on American soil in all of U.S. history.
But there’s more rescuing to be done, and it’s from a thief called time, which robs memories of their vividness, and from the Dumpster, which is daily carting history away from Ground Zero and the Pentagon.
I wish I could hear my father talk about what it was like 60 years ago, on Dec. 7, 1941, when he was 15 and living in a little apartment near the old Brooklyn Navy Yard, and hearing the tough men who worked there react to Tojo’s deeds. He and his memories of those days are gone. I wish I’d asked him; wish he’d written it all down; wish someone had asked him to save what he thought and heard and witnessed and feared.
- What is your most enduring memory of September 11, 2001?
- Where were you when you heard about it?
- How did you feel?
- What did you do?
- What crazy emails did you receive?
- Did you know someone who died that day?
- Do you know someone who had a close call?
Some day long from now when America is “old and gray and full of sleep” and “nodding by the fire,” it can “take down this book” of memories and slowly read about the hardy and inspiring country that got through that terrible day together, and the war that followed.
I pray that America – the “hardy and inspiring country that got through that terrible day together” – isn’t something just to be remembered as the “way it was”, and that patriotic Americans will prevail. As Sharon said once, in answer to the question:
“How is it that Americans have such short memories?”
Two entirely different groups.
NOTE: IT SHOULD NOT BE NECESSARY TO SAY SO, HOWEVER: NO COMMENTS ABOUT 9/11 CONSPIRACY THEORIES WILL BE ALLOWED HERE TODAY. THANK YOU FOR YOUR COOPERATION.