This day, September 11, marks the ninth anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks. Previously a solemn day when Americans take time to remember loved ones, 9/11 is singing a new tune, a tune called politics.
According to an article in Politico Friday, politicians in the past would only attend events to commemorate the day and take down their television ads. That has now changed.
Along with formal ceremonies, activists for and against the proposed Islamic center are planning their own events to capture the emotion of the day with unmistakable political overtones.
In New York City, opponents and supporters have planned rallies for the controversial Islamic center, proposed for lower Manhattan two blocks after Ground Zero. Not only are these rallies aimed at the midterm elections in November but with the state’s primary elections on Tuesday.
An Associated Press article reported, Terry Jones, the pastor of a small independent church in Gainesville, Florida, received international attention by threatening to burn copies of the Quran. Jones cancelled those plans Thursday due to from pressure from the White House, but now he says is reconsidering.
President Obama is scheduled to attend a commemoration at the Pentagon Saturday, while Vice President Joe Biden will attend a ceremony at a park near Ground Zero, where 2, 752 people were killed when hijackers flew planes into the twin towers of the World Trade Center. The ceremony there will pause four times, twice to mark when each plane hit the towers and twice for when the towers fell. Houses of worship in the city are asked to toll their bells at 8:46 a.m., when the first plane hit the north tower.
New York is not the only location that will host conservative protests. Tea Party groups are planning a march on the National Mall in Washington. In Alaska, Glenn Beck is teaming up with Sarah Palin in the Anchorage Arena to celebrate their shared conservative, faith-based values and to memorialize the attacks.
Even candidates and incumbents are politicizing the day. Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln’s reelection campaign will throw an Arkansas Razorbacks football tailgate party Saturday, while Washington GOP senate nominee Dino Rossi will speak at a Tacoma-area Republican Women’s Club fundraiser called “Let’s Roll on to Victory,” a reference to a phrase attributed to Todd Beamer, a passenger on United Airlines Flight 93 who fought back the hijackers during the 2001 attacks.
Though emotions are high and tempers may flare, most will agree, that September 11 is a day to remember those who have passed and the unity of the country, despite its political sound.
Carmen Singleton is an intern with C&E.
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