Tomorrow marks the anniversary of one of the most devastating events to affect our country and certainly, the most devastating event in our lifetime. Everyone always says they remember exactly what they were doing at the moment they learned the nation had come under attack on September 11, 2001. Images of those huge planes crashing into the Twin Towers, photos of those who were lost – they’re all a part of our mental catalogs.
Women have this ability to memorialize those crucial moments in our lives. We remember the color of shoes and socks we dressed our newborns in as we leave the hospital following their births. We remember the date of our first kiss and we remember the exact moment – date and time – that we realize a marriage is over. So, naturally, I remember sitting at the red light in Hattiesburg, Mississippi that morning and wondering what I was going to do with a broken marriage. Needless to say, what unfolded the rest of the day made my problems seem almost petty. There’s very little I don’t remember about that day, even if it is quite different than what some are claiming today.
We can all remember President Bush sitting in that Florida classroom and seeing the expression on his face when he learns his country is under attack. We can also remember seeing the faces of those young men and women who felt a surge of pride so deep that it compelled them to enter the military to ensure another tragedy such as what we were living would never again happen. I mean seriously, what’s left, right? Well…
Here’s where memories will begin to betray many of us. There’s a special on the Biography Channel tomorrow night, “How Pop Culture Saved America”. In the clip, Christine Chenoweth, who I adore by the way, says, “It was almost our duty to take people out of this horrendous reality.” Hmm. There’s no denying folks use their celebrity status for good. Whether they’re traveling to support our troops or are serving as the driving force behind raising a million dollars for the latest cancer research, being a celebrity certainly has its perks. But to suggest it was pop culture that saved America following the terrorist attacks? Seriously? The documentary’s title alone is an insult.
It wasn’t the collective pop culture that saved this country. It was the commitment and determination of a powerful military, an angry president and the faith of each of us that saved this country. It was that too-brief time where each of us felt a sense of obligation to others for once instead of ourselves. It was the powerful prayers, the pride, the grieving and ultimately the healing so many found themselves thrown into that saved this country a decade ago. The country singers, glamorous movie stars and other celebrities played a significant role to be sure, but saved us? I guess it comes down to one question: when you look back and when you’re playing that mental catalog over and over, what do you see? Is it Cameron Diaz laughing inappropriately during the broadcast that was shown on every network or is it the fearful, but determined, faces of firefighters and police officers that causes your sense of pride to surge forward?
Nothing like a self-congratulatory attitude from Hollywood, right?