|For those reading this column at this
very moment, I say welcome to the wonderful people of Jersey City and beyond
in what I hope will the first of many editions of a weekly column called
Ricardo About Town by yours truly. This column will be for the most part
about happenings in and around the big J.C. and sometimes about the world
outside Jersey City. So now instead of blathering on, let me start writing
about what matters...
The day that I am writing
this column happens to be September 11th 2003, the 2nd anniversary of what
is the most tragic date so far in the young 21st century. A day that I can
recall by remembering a now famous report from WCBS-AM reporter Tom
Kaminski, who in a helicopter hovering above the George Washington Bridge at
approximately 8:50 AM of that sunny Tuesday morning, noted that a ball of
fire followed by a stream of smoke coming from the direction of the World
Trade Center. I was driving to my job located near Paramus N.J. and not
paying much attention. Just chalking up his observations to a sudden
explosion on a lone floor.
Boy, would I be proven wrong as by noon that day, I
was hightailing it out the office and driving away in my 1989 Nissan 240 SX,
on my way toward Jersey City. Once I was safely ensconced in my home, it was
almost twenty-four hours of seeing almost every conceivable video and
picture of the two planes flying into the Twin Towers and people running for
their lives from the crumbling structures, the Pentagon in flames and the
Pennsylvania countryside littered with the remains of the passenger jet that
blew up in mid-air. Thousands of lives lost including the nineteen
terrorists who were on the four planes, responsible for those heinous acts.
And now two years later, amidst all the
commemorations, candlelight vigils, ceremonies, speeches by posturing
politicians, crass and over-sentimentalized TV and radio reports and the
shameless attempts at exploiting survivors' grief and pain by the White
House (Bush's absence for Ground Zero is enough for a whole year's worth of
columns), the question that should be posed by the mainstream media is WHY
ISN'T SEPTEMBER 11TH A NATIONAL HOLIDAY?
That's a question that probably has many answers but
none that would probably be satisfactory enough for anyone who lost loved
ones in those locations during that hour-plus period of that has marked
September 11th, 2001 in the history books.
On the local scene, there were ceremonies throughout
Hudson County, including a candlelight vigil which at City Hall, where
hundreds of local residents in a procession, led by Mayor Glenn Cunningham,
made their way to Exchange Place. There were speeches by the Mayor and other
staffers from the Mayor's office, several musical presentations and a silent
And while there was criticism by those attended about
the political nature of the vigil and the lack of organization in putting
together the event, one should have stripped away the extras of the vigil
and looked carefully at the over hundred people who came out to pay their
respects. Many of the attendees probably would never live next to each
other, never mind stand next to each other in the same place. The
candlelight vigil gave those who wanted to remember 9/11 an opportunity to
share a moment of grief, mourning and love with others.
In other news, with the recent passing of longtime
Jersey Journal political columnist Peter Weiss, readers who miss the inside
gossip and news on the backroom dealings and shady maneuvers of Hudson
County and state politics at large would do well to check out two columnists
who will definitely fill the void - Al Sullivan of the Jersey City Reporter
and Jay Stevens of The Urban Times News.
Recommended reading for About Town readers: 9-11 by
Noam Chomsky (2001; Seven Stories Press). The book is a compilation of
interviews that longtime MIT professor, and noted political scholar and
commentator Chomsky gave in the two months after September 11, 2001 in which
he lays out the various questions and answers that were not asked by the
mainstream press but sheds light on that day of terror. Whether you're a fan
of his work or not, Chomsky provokes a great deal of thought on the
ideologies and actions that brought about the attacks and their aftermath.
So I hope this column has readers information that
challenges, that enlightens, that infuriates and that even stupefies. Any
comments, praise and insults can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Otherwise,
thank you for the time and courtesy. And until next time....
356-1300 x6287 - voicemail/fax