Tuesday September 11, 2012

The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2011, 11 years ago today, were supposed to have changed everything, for better or for worse. They had no effect, however, on traditional American political gridlock, as the 9/11 museum at ground zero in lower Manhattan was not ready for opening this year as anticipated because of a funding fight between Albany and New York City. Some things, indeed, will never change.

One World Trade Center has climbed above the Manhattan skyline, the 104-story building scheduled to be opened in 2014. The memorial quadrangle, with twin reflecting pools located where the twin towers once stood, opened a year ago and 4.5 million people have since visited. The museum, which will document the terrorist attacks and honor the nearly 3,000 victims, remains stalled, however, as NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo bicker over which government agencies will fund the museum’s operating costs. Here’s an idea, guys -- split the difference.

The most tangible reminder of 9/11/01 is the war in Afghanistan, a war begun in response to the attacks launched by al-Qaida. The war was back-burnered for George W. Bush’s shameful failed war of conquest in Iraq, and today it limps along, its mission lost with the death of Osama bin Laden and the scattering of al-Qaida. It only reaches the news pages when American soldiers -- like Army Private Michael DeMarsico of North Adams -- are killed there in the line of duty.


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President Obama promises that the war in Afghanistan will be over in 2014, the year One WTC is expected to open for business. It would be far better if the war ended next year, coincidental with the delayed opening of the 9/11 museum. The nation could begin moving on from the war while beginning the process of education and remembrance of the event that triggered the war and changed so much -- but not everything -- about America.