In another example of the my-outraged-sensitivity-is-bigger-than-your-outraged-sensitivity trend, there was the by now predictable sad and media-fanned moral outrage at the reports of a fire training exercise being conducted at Boston’s Logan Airport yesterday, the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Logan Airport is where American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175, the two flights that hit the World Trade Centers in 2001, originated from that morning, and since then Massport employees have had to fight an embarassed defensive shame that somehow, there was some way they could have foreseen, and something they could have done better or differently to prevent, something that was at that time utterly unthinkable.
Eric Lowrey, president of the Massachusetts 9/11 Fund, said, “I could very much see it being an issue and very worrisome for anyone who saw that smoke and fire, knowing this date has some significance.” Oh, the insensitivity! How DARE they conduct realistic training exercises when people are busy gathering in large groups to remember the day, or perhaps raptly watching their favorite media outlet’s Special Edition Coverage Of The Twelfth Anniversary Of The 9 | 11 Attacks complete with haunting soft-focus still-shots and segue music to commercials set in a heart-touching plaintive minor key.
There’s a secondary story here about the media milking of our public tragedies, but that pretty much writes itself, and in itself would be a diversion from the real issue, which is: why NOT conduct readiness training on the anniversary of an event? What better day to demonstrate readiness to respond to disaster than on the anniversary of 9/11? Do you think the terrorists are going to honor our nation’s new mournful holy day, our Tisha B’Av, remembering the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem? “Oh, gee, let’s not attack today, it’s a special day for them, that would just be insensitive”? Are you kidding? If I were a terrorist I would think it would be a brilliant stroke of terror to hit again on the same date as the last terrorist attack.
East Boston city councilor Salvatore LaMattina gets it exactly right:
“Sept. 11 happened 12 years ago, and it was a horrific event in America’s history,” he said. “My East Boston neighborhood was shaken. But now we . . . and the airport, must move on. The firefighters, those are our first responders, and so it’s only fitting that they train today.”
It is only fitting. What better way to pay tribute to the lives lost than to demonstrate our readiness and determination to not let it happen again?