A decade ago, I looked back at Sept. 11, 2001 on its 10th anniversary, recalled its “crashing planes, burning buildings, tumbling bodies” and noted, “it hardly needs to be recounted now.”
Of course not. Because the wounds of the attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the hijacked flight that went down in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, were too fresh to require much description, but too raw to overlook.
Remembering was a duty. The lives lost that day — almost 3,000 — demanded attention. Demanded to be put into context, to understand how enormous a loss it really was.
“More Americans died on 9/11 than in the War of 1812,” I wrote. “It was the bloodiest morning on American soil since the Civil War.”
Things have changed. In 2021, we don’t need to reach into the 19th century in search of perspective. We can look back to a week ago Thursday — 9/2 — a date which will live in obscurity, when 2,937 Americans were killed by the current foe attacking our country, COVID-19.
Or Feb. 10, when 3,254 died. Or Jan. 21: 4,135. Or hundreds of other days. About 650,000 Americans slain, out of sight, the nation hardly noticing, never mind honoring its loss. Yet killed all the same by a far more lethal foreign assailant.
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