Saturday, September 10, 2011


Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. -Martin Luther King, Jr.

Spiegelman's iconic New Yorker cover from 9/24/01, and the twin lights memorial

On September 11, 2001, I sold this raspberry suit to a woman working in the Pentagon. A few days later I heard from her, apologizing for taking so long to pay, but she'd been very distracted by events. I don't even know how she remembered the suit at all.

I remember the reaction of the world to 9/11, particularly the raw, on-the-street reaction of ordinary people all over the world. To them, we were still an ideal. We were Hollywood, Mickey Mouse and Mickey Mantle, T-birds and T-bone Hawkins, Coca-Cola, Apple, Ella and Elvis, Martin King, The Statue of Liberty, great teeming New York, Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, golden waves of grain, cowboys and Indians, the railroad, good public schools and libraries, Woody Allen, flight, baseball, front porches, the blues, purple mountain majesty, Mustang cars and horses, Helen Keller, Star Wars, Marilyn Monroe, Broadway, jazz, rock-n-roll, hip-hop, sportswear, white hats and silver spurs, The Alamo, the circus, buffalo and Buffalo Bill, the Bill of Rights, beat poets, Janis Joplin, Thomas Edison and Henry Ford, the gramophone and the light bulb, Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, Ernest Hemingway, Mark Twain, Thoreau and Emerson, Jim Thorpe, Jesse Owens, Michael Jordan and Michael Jackson, Kennedy, FDR, Oprah, Bob Hope, Einstein, Abraham Lincoln, emancipation, Muhammad Ali, the Smithsonian, the moon. We were hope. We were, as John Gunther reminded us in the 1947 Inside U.S.A., the craziest, most dangerous, least stable, most spectacular, least grownup, and most powerful and magnificent nation ever known.

That was what was attacked, and what remains. That is what is worth preserving and improving upon forever.

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