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OPINION - Golf and 9-11

by Chris Conley

NEWS BLOG (WSAU)  I believe the owners at the Tumbledown Trails golf course made an honest mistake in judgment. They offer a 9-hole special for $9.11 on the 12th anniversary of the September 11th attacks. Of course there was outrage. Management now realizes a 9-11 themed promotion is a bad taste, and they’ve agreed to donate the day’s proceeds to a memorial fund.

I’m glad the remembrances and memorials are smaller now. I found it too depressing, too emptying, to go through that every year. Like after a loved one dies, as time passes remembering becomes more personal and less public. 9-11 is like that.

The question this year is whether 9-11 will be like Pearl Harbor Day or like Memorial Day. Both are solemn dates for America. No one thinks of holding a mattress sale on December 7th. But Memorial Day has been lost. We’ve moved it to a Monday to create a three-day weekend. It’s become the unofficial kick-off of summer and a time for vacations and cookouts. We are, indeed, selling tires and mattresses and all kinds of other retail items. And it’s a day that was intended to honor our war dead that can never be fully reclaimed for that purpose.

9-11 will never be a commercialized holiday for me. My hometown was attacked. I know people who lost loved ones that day. I remember the reporting I did that day, and it changed me.

But that day doesn’t have the same meaning for my children. They were 3 and 1 years old then, and completely unaware of what happened. My twins hadn’t even been born yet. They can’t possibly have the same sense of loss and anger that I have. I experienced the day differently than they did.

I’m worried about what will happen in 2015. September 11th falls on a Friday. Will we dare to make it a three-day weekend?

Chris Conley
9.11.13