Monday, April 21, 2014

Hard To Forget

Amherst's famous commemorative flags honoring Patriot's Day

If you were there as it happened or simply watched as the visuals first started rolling in, the scenes becomes permanently etched in memory:  those unmistakable sounds, smoke rising, chaos, people screaming, the wail of emergency vehicles reverberating off multi-story buildings, punctuated by a fear of the unknown.  Who did this and why?

For "college aged youth" currently attending our esteemed institutes of higher education in one of the best college towns in America, Patriots Day will forever be remembered, because last year terrorists unleashed death and destruction in the heart of Boston.

Especially since it occurred at an event that celebrates the triumph of the human spirit, in a sport many still consider "pure".

And in patriotic Massachusetts, where pretty much everyone considers Boston, "our fucking city."

So flying the commemorative flags in downtown Amherst to remind us all of the terror we endured that day is hardly necessary.  We remember.  We always will.

Just as flying those same commemorative flags on 9/11 is unnecessary if done simply to remind us of the horrific destruction unleashed on our homeland that awful morning.  How could any of us possibly forget?

But what if you were only 5-years-old and shell shocked adults sheltered you from the devastating images live streaming out of Manhattan, Washington D.C. and a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania?

This coming September the incoming 5,000+ freshman at our Colleges and University will, for the most part, have been only five years old on the morning of 9/11/01 -- too young to remember the chaos, sorrow and sheer terror that covered our country like a coroner's sheet.

Induced by the worst attack on American soil in our entire fucking history.

The commemorative flags are not scheduled to fly in downtown Amherst until 2016, to remember the 15th anniversary.   And then not again until 2021 for the 20th anniversary, when the incoming freshmen classes will not even have been born on that ignoble day.

Thus, collectively, the malicious memory starts to fade -- like Pearl Harbor.  And then suddenly, some fine morning as we busily go about our daily routine, it happens.  Again.

Flying the commemorative American flags in downtown Amherst every 9/11, as we do every Patriot's Day (and Memorial Day), will serve to honor the memory of 3,000 slaughtered innocent Americans and to remind us that evil exists.  It will always exist.

And without vigilance, evil triumphs.


Yokal said...

I miss the America we had prior to those attacks on 9-11. The attacks were bad, but it was obvious from day one that what we really had to contend with as Americans was our own over-reactions....and low and behold, we live in a country with much less freedom and opportunity than we did. The goal of the terrorists was our reaction and we unfortunately gave them just want they wanted.

Praise the true patriots, and shame on those that made this place worse as a reaction to those that do harm.

It's a shame, the college kids are not even old enough to remember what it was like before the federal clamp down on travel and the states clamping down on jobs.

Anonymous said...

The existing deal in Amherst regarding the commemorative flags is a good deal that keeps the memory of 9/11 alive.

Memories do fade, and the public remembrances eventually stop, as they have of Pearl Harbor (12/7), Antietam, with the most fatalities on American soil of any day in our history (9/17), D-Day (6/6), V-J Day (8/15), Lincoln's Birthday (2/12), Gettysburg (the first 3 days of July) and the assassination of Abraham Lincoln (4/15).

In that light, flying the flags every five years to remember 9/11 is a good deal for those who care about history. Many of the people of Amherst, including some of its most vocal, active citizens, are ambivalent about the display of the American flag. I don't agree, but that's the way it is. So what we have in place is better than what we easily could have, which is nothing.

Rich Morse

Larry Kelley said...

As my Irish mother used to say, "Two wrongs don't make a right."

Anonymous said...


Wow, the Selectboard won't let them for 18000 more years?

Larry Kelley said...

It does seem like an eternity. At least to some of us. Obviously not you.

In their minds, you're a joke said...

"And without vigilance, evil triumphs."

Without opposite force,

it triumphs.

Amherst, is the perfect example.

At all this vigilance

her roaches laugh.

Who here, will put a solid shoulder

to them?

Who will drive

them out?

-Squeaky Squeaks

Larry Kelley said...

"Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio, our nation turns its lonely eyes to you."

Dr. Ed said...

"it's a shame, the college kids are not even old enough to remember what it was like before the federal clamp down on travel"

The bigger shame is that the college kids aren't old enough to remember what it was like in academia before Virginia Tech -- when it was all about pursuit of truth, Veritas, and students could pretty much say anything they wanted to without having to look over their shoulders....

Circa 2014, UMass would lock Albert Einstein up in the psych ward -- I have absolutely no doubt they would....

Anonymous said...

I still think that every year they should fly the Commemorative Flags every 9-11. Each year they don't I feel insulted and ashamed to call this town my home town. You can drive to other towns close by and they are all flying flags, so why not Amherst?? Well I proudly fly my flags every 9-11 and still will. This is one subject that upsets a lot of people around here. Last year the Amherst Regional High School was the only school that didn't lower it's flag. Oh they did the following day, but really, kinda a day late.

Anonymous said...

Awwwww.....Ed, is that why you're so pissed at UMass? Did they try to lock you up in a psych ward?

Go figure.

Dr. Ed said...

Did they try to lock you up in a psych ward?

Not that I'm aware of, and I kinda think I'd remember something like that -- you know, I really think I would sorta remember something like that...

Just because you are too delusional to remember something like that doesn't me that I also am....

[Sarcasm Mode Off

What I do know, and find rather infuriating, is that UM is locking up a shite-load of other students, often three or more per day, and there are some serious questions that need to be asked about this.

What I also know is that neither parents nor high school guidance counselors are particularly impressed with UMass after learning of this -- and yes, you can guess whom it is that is telling them something that the university itself neglects to mention.

People have to know that some of this stuff is wrong -- and it's only a matter of time until some very lucky folk are given the ultimate Faustian deal: "you can go to prison too, or you can help us send your co-workers to prison."

That's when things are going to start getting interesting...

Nina Koch said...

There's somewhere around 30,000 students at UMass. Given the rate of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression in the population, it's not surprising that 1 or 2% of those 30,000 people would need mental health services beyond what the University can provide.

Schizophrenia, in particular, is likely to emerge during early adulthood. If the University were not paying attention to students' mental health needs, someone would be criticizing them for that.

Unless you have documentation that UMass is doing something dramatically different than other similar institutions, you probably should just drop it. Not sure why you feel a need to refer to this issue repeatedly.

Anonymous said...


Thanks for the rationality. It may not be reciprocated, but you have readers who appreciate it.

Anonymous said...

Second that, Anon 11:19.

Walter Graff said...

Here's a piece I did on two of the Boston bombing survivors.

Dr. Ed said...

Nina, if one or two workstations were consuming 3/4 of your bandwidth, would you or would you not ask questions?

Would you not presume something was wrong because of what is clearly a change from the past?

The mental illnesses you list have existed since the dawn of time -- If I'm not mistaken, at least several of them are inherited. UMass thus was dealing with them in years past -- it had to have been -- and hence why the need to cart kids off to the psych ward now in numbers that weren't necessary in years past?

Anonymous said...

"why the need to cart kids off to the psych ward now in numbers that weren't necessary in years past?"

ever hear of research? or studies? they have new insight on treatment and how serious some issues can be and are doing something about it.

Ed, you say a lot of negatives about UMass, but you NEVER have facts to back them up (what do you mean 3/4 of your bandwith? they arent locking up 3/4 of the students here)

if you want to make a point, make a good one and back it up

Anonymous said...

My understanding is the town didn't try to approve the flags flying every 9/11 because they felt a majority of the town doesn't want them too.

Larry, is this correct? I thought I heard a quote from one of the town officials similar to this. it seems CRAZY that this would be true. how could you not want them to fly every year, its unbelievably disappointing

Larry Kelley said...

No, the town has never been given the opportunity to vote on the matter.

Town Meeting voted it down by a shameful two-thirds vote, but that was seven years ago.

Two years ago I asked the Select Board to place the issue on the annual election ballot for a town wide vote and they refused.

Last year I handed them a class action voter petition to request they place it on the annual town election ballot and they again refused.

Makes you wonder what they are afraid of?