A lot has happened in the last 20 years. Reflecting on the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, aka the “Twin Towers” 20 years this week puts recent history into new perspective.
What did the Twin Towers represent to the terrorists? Perhaps their view of the essence of America – Capitalism.
The first terrorist salvo – Yankee soil. New York. The “Big Apple”. THE epicenter of money and commerce, arguably of the world.
So what has happened since that time? While the US military has been deployed in the Middle East in an effort to fight the “Global War on Terror” to prevent terrorists from bringing more terrorism to American soil, domestic terrorists have been continuing their activities at home. Perhaps, not in an obvious way.
But domestic terrorists with cranes have arguably had an equally great impact on the American landscape as did the planes on 9-11 with literally hundreds of all types of monuments and memorials removed by the “crane gang”.
But are they really all domestic? Many are not aware that the pro-Islamic entity, Council of American Islamic Relations (“CAIR”) advocates for American Veteran Monument destruction.
This fact came to the author’s attention in 2017, when the Temple Terrace, Florida-based group issued a statement in favor of removing the historic military memorial in Tampa, “Memoria in Aeterna”. They were part of the “coalition” that finally scored that victory against a piece of marble.
Yes, a “Confederate Monument”, a beautiful Italian sculpture that has been a central focus of memorial activities in Tampa since 1910.
Memorial activities. Memorial. What does memorial mean anyway? A tribute to spark recollection – Remembering. Ironically, Memoria in Aeterna means ‘eternal memory’ in Latin.
So today we remember 9-11. We remember what Islamic terrorists did to us. But do we see the linkages between destructive forces from abroad and those at home?
Hint: to “foreigners” there is no difference between North and South. We are all Americans. The planes that flew into the Twin Towers didn’t give special treatment to black or brown Americans – the engulfing flames and collapsing structures didn’t differentiate.
When tragedy strikes Americans say “we will never forget”. We build monuments and memorials to remember. We said 20 years ago that we will always remember. The loss… the sacrifice. We build monuments and hold memorial ceremonies.
Of course, 9-11 was not unique. WWII, the Pulse Nightclub attack, the War Between the States.
But for southerners, those words sound very hollow.
While we were remembering terrorists with planes, terrorists with cranes were continuing the destruction of American Memory in Virginia.
Mother to arguably America’s best and brightest, Robert Edward Lee, after a long battle, Virginia un-remembered Lee on 9-9-21. Admired in his generation and in all generations since as a role model. Extolled by Presidents and foreign leaders. Epitome of American ideal. As iconic in a cultural way as the Twin Towers.
The monument’s venue, Monument Avenue, a place created for the specific purpose of housing memorials…was no longer suitable as a repository of memories.
It took 150 years for Lee’s memory to be erased from his state.
How long will the memory of 9-11 last? There are American adults alive today who were not alive to watch the images on TV. Some believe it was ‘fake” and those who remember might even be called “Islamaphobic”. There are numerous blog posts and articles that, like the holocaust-deniers, dispute that terrorist planes were even used.
One generation, two? Will the memorial on the site of the Twin Towers eventually be called “Racist”, “Islamaphobic” or “unwelcoming” and become the next victim in the war on American history and join the monument graveyard with Lee and dozens of non-“Confederate” American monuments and memorials like Sacagewea and Kate Smith?
Will CAIR eventually come out for removal of Andrew Jackson, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln? Their allies in the ‘crane gang’ already are. In Pensacola and Jacksonville, FL Andrew Jackson, Florida’s first American Governor of Florida is on the verge of removal.
Foreign and domestic destructionists have more than planes and cranes in common. They are united to eliminate American icons and our shared memories.
Was the timing of Lee’s un-remembering purposeful or accidental? Who knows, but it sparks curiosity.
Does the media coverage of 9-11-11 over-ride the memory of 9-09-21? How many people even know about the un-remembering of Lee or connect the dots–remembering one tragedy and un-remembering another?
Someone should organize a project to plot on a map all the monuments that were destroyed. Coordinates should be plotted. Historical information should be included. All these can be put in a publication and disseminated. The little criminals might wreck the stone but they can’t erase the memory. Someone start a GoFundMe and let’s get it going. Stone can be lost but the information doesn’t have to be lost. Let’s get proactive.