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POSTED: 09-11-03

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Accidental Patriots

When I lived in Massachusetts, we observed an annual "Patriots Day.” The holiday was intended to honor the Minutemen militias and colonial Patriots who battled with the British to gain our independence as a nation. In latter years, the celebration no doubt focused more on the fact that Patriot’s Day usually fell, appropriately enough, on tax day. This meant federal and state offices in the state were closed, and those of us filing in Andover, MA, had at least one extra day to postmark our returns.

If I remember correctly, we celebrated Patriot’s Day during my childhood, too, growing up in Florida. My home town of Cocoa Beach was little more than a tropical dormitory for the many engineers and scientists imported to implement JFK’s vision of a man on the moon, and so tended to be more outwardly “patriotic” anyway. Our collective pride in the space effort permeated every corner of our lives; from my grade school alma mater, Freedom Seven Elementary, to the local Moon Hut burger joint, to the massively gargantuan American flag adorning the side of NASA’s Vehicle Assembly Building, so large it could literally be seen 15-20 miles up the Mosquito Lagoon -- we lived a patriotism based upon a common purpose rooted in proud accomplishment, not cowering fear.

Thus, it seemed almost natural to stop and honor the brave Patriots who stood up to the Red Coats and fought to secure the liberties we have enjoyed for over 200 years, right up until the Bushcroft administration. (CONT.)

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So, it was with dismay (why do I read everything about Bush "with dismay?") that I noted an article in today's paper that W is declaring September 11 "Patriot's Day," presumably to honor the brave souls who fought long lines at the WTC elevators and coffee machines, or boldly guarded the last cruller in the break room, right up until that time they were blind sided by a screaming jet full of Iraqi terrorists.

Oops, I meant Afghani terrorists.

Oh, no, wait, that would be Saudi Arabian terrorists.

Never mind. Different rant.

Please do not misread my point; I do not discount the lives of those poor souls who perished in the tragic attacks at the World Trade Center. I grieve for them and their families, as no such loss ever brings anything but pain of the worst kind. I had an acquaintance die in the Cantnor-Fitzgerald office. I cannot claim to have been “friends” with George, but still, it was just enough of a connection to realize that had this happened on another day, I might have been sitting at his desk, discussing business.

But honestly, is George a patriot? Why does the George in Washington seem to have this pathological need to co-op every event as his own personal campaign ad? This latest declaration supplanting the real heroism of our colonial-era Patriots is just more nationalistic propaganda from the masters of political pap, the Rove/Bush GOP.

Honor the dead killed on 9-11. They are innocent victims of a tragic, horrific event. But to call them "patriots" is an insult to the men and women who gave their lives actively fighting to create this great country. To equate their sacrifice with the accidental deaths of thousands of desk jockeys is yet another example of George W. Bush not knowing a Patriot even if his 1st Amendment Zone security detail allowed one close enough to see the whites of his eyes.

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