dimanche, juin 08, 2008

08.06.06: D-Day, Birthdays, 9-11

I met a super nice french couple when I was in Senegal about a year and a half ago. We try to stay in touch with some e-mails, an occasional phone call, and an infrequent visit to their place in Normandy. This June, they both are turning forty and decided to throw a big party in their own honor. As it turns out, the same week-end as the anniversary of the D-Day landings on Utah, Omaha, Gold, Sword, and Juno beaches.

Before going to the birthday party, I had the afternoon to do a little exploring, so went to Le Mémorial in Caen to see the French national WWII memorial. This week-end was the opening of a new exposition at Le Mémorial ... Where were you on September, 11 2001 at 8.46 AM? which is a display of objects found in the rubble of the World Trade Center, displayed to accentuate the very personal side of the tragedy.

A piece of an exit sign from the WTC, a fireman's boot, a laptop computer, a payphone. Normally mundane objects all, but each carrying a small piece of a tragic story forward to remind us of the day that everything changed.

A badge found from a police officer, next to a 10 foot banner displaying her photograph, her previous acts of heroism as an officer, words of remembrance from her colleagues and family. Next to similar posters of a financial advisor, a fireman, a flight attendant, and a nurse. Each story personal, real, unforgettable.

There is a life-size poster of several people walking down the streets of New York in the moments after the collapse of the World Trade Center, the sky darkened by the airborn remnants of 2974 deaths, survivors covered with soot permeating every pore of their grey-ed skin, and the backdrop is the carnage depicting the day the world ended.

All of this, in a memorial in France, for gods-sake, that commemorates the heroic deeds of the UK, Canadian, and American forces 64 years ago to bring the beginning of the end to WWII.

There are also videos of George Bush speaking to the United Nations the day after. And a video of Osama Bin Laden, speaking to persons united against the US.

Here is what I thought:
Osama Bin Laden is still making videos, and Al-Qaida is likely planning another attack on the US.
And $500B of our military resources is being squandered in Iraq.
And it is 6 1/2 years later.
Our president and his administration are a national disgrace.

Bush's birthday is July 6.
I think I'll send him a birthday card this year. Or 2, 974 of them.

Our government's primary duty is to protect the citizens of the US; they have failed to bring an end to Al-Qaida and Osama Bin Laden, the group that committed the most serious attack against US citizens on US soil.
And we are complicit in our complacency.