I’ve never before written a word about 9/11. Not having a TV it was years before I saw any of the filmed images. An email from my sister-in-law who had just arrived at her desk in the Rockefeller Center was the first I knew anything was up. The first plane had hit. Then she fell silent and one of my step-daughters took up the narrative based on what she was watching on her television screen in Ireland. Italian radio came in a slow third.
Time passes and you make connections. You meet someone who lost someone, and lots of people who knew someone who lost someone. Two of our New York nephews worked in the aftermath, one as a paramedic, one as a DNA-profiler. I only say all this as a preface to my reason for posting this famous photograph: Mayor Bloomberg.
Clarity of reasoning has never been Michael Bloomberg’s forte – any man so vehemently pro-abortion but anti death penalty really needs to go some place quiet and think – and he oftentimes seems way off the wavelength of the people who voted for him, but his plans for the 10th anniversary commemoration have moved him right up the league tables of Tone Deaf Politicians. He has excluded both clergy and First Responders from the ceremony.
The reason given for the exclusion is lack of space, priority being accorded to the families of those who died. But of course they aren’t the only people who’ll be there. Politicians past and present, and presumably quite a number of the bulky Secret Service agents who guard them will be taking up square footage. It’s hard to believe room couldn’t be found for a couple of priests, a rabbi, and yes, hell why not, an imam, plus a representative from each Fire Department battalion that attended on September 11.
Everyone in that photo was a First Responder. As Fire Department chaplain Fr. Mychal Judge was an early arrival at WTC where he prayed for the dead and for those going to their death. He was also one of the Department’s first casualties. And you have to ask, at such a commemoration as this, apart from reading the names of the dead, if they’re not going to pray what in tarnation are they going to do? No speeches. Please God, no speeches.
And a footnote about another emblem of the low-energy, cold-fish, faith-lite Bloomberg Years: 1 World Trade Center (formerly referred to as the Freedom Tower but that was deemed too… triumphalist) is now expected to be completed some time in 2013. The Empire State Building took 18 months.