A day to remember

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I realize as I’m trying to assemble today’s comic news that my mind wasn’t really on it for some reason. Although 9/11/01 is the day that changed the world in sad and horrible ways, it was also a sad and horrible time for me, my friends, my family and my home. The sense of closure I feel today following the death of bin Laden is a powerful one, but it also brought back so many memories of that time. The grief, the missing posters, the sickening smell that lingered in the air for weeks, the eerie glow from the rescue efforts at Ground Zero that lit up the sky around the clock. I woke up every morning for months, lying in bed, reliving that day.

There were good things, too: the sense of unity and warmth of friendships that deepened and have lasted since. Brave men and women. A city that came together and has stood together since.

I remember writing at the time that if bin Laden had been found and shipped to Times Square and hung up on a cage to rot to a skeleton — as they did with prisoners in more barbaric times — every New Yorker would have approved. I’m not a big believer in vengeance or capital punishment, but this childish fantasy provided me with some comfort in those dark times.

So yeah, I’m so glad he’s dead, and I’m glad I’m here to dance on his grave. It doesn’t bring anyone back or bring back that simpler world, but the darker world he helped create is a little less dark today.

And now I hope we can move on to an even better place.

Comments

  1. CitizenCliff says:

    Osama bin Laden burried at sea… also know as water unboarding.

    But seriously, I was living in Los Angeles when 9-11 happened, and for a long time I had a strange sense of guilt — not that I could have done anything, maybe that I was safe on that day and so many friends and former neighbors weren’t. All we could do was helplessly watch the television.

    A few months later, I did this poster for the Key Club on Sunset Blvd. http://bit.ly/inF601

  2. Thanks, Heidi. While you are dancing on his grave, I’ll be removing The Beat from my browser links (as I should have long ago).

    Enjoy your little hate-filled jig.

  3. Chris Hero says:

    When I first heard the news, I was *really* happy. Then I felt guilty over being happy someone died. Then I thought – f it, it’s bin Laden, I think being happy he’s dead isn’t a bad thing.

    So, yeah, even though I was living in Cincinnati at the time and have in no way been directly affected by 9/11, I’m still happy the bastard’s dead. I can understand where a New Yorker would be dance on his grave dead.

  4. Earth-2 Chad says:

    Maybe it’s all the Batman comics I’ve read over the years, but I would have liked to see Bin Laden stand trial.

    That said, I don’t blame Heidi (or anyone) for being happy he’s dead. I used to pass by St. Patrick’s Cathedral on my way to work in 2001 and 2002, and I’ll never forget seeing the numerous ceremonies for 9/11 first responders who passed away on that day.

    Have we really gotten to the point where it’s a no-no to hate a mass murderer?

  5. R. Maheras says:

    Matt — I wouldn’t call Heidi’s sense of relief a “hate-filled jig.”

    One generally doesn’t kill or eliminate a dangerous threat because of hatred, they do so out of self-preservation.

    Let’s say you walked into bin Laden’s compound before yesterday, outstretched your hand in friendship, and said, “Osama, can’t we all just get along?” In the second or two before he or his minions put a bullet into your brain, here’s hoping you’d finally have an epiphany and realize that evil feeds off of such unrealistic idealism.

    Your comment reminds me of a situation the Chicago Police had to deal with not too long ago. A displaced mountain lion, which some speculated hitched a ride into the city on a freight train, was roaming the alleys of Chicago for several days before the Chicago Police finally cornered and killed it just a block or so away from a school. True to form, some yahoo who was not there in the alley confronting the beast complained later that they should have tried to capture the animal instead of killing it.

    Say… you’re not from Chicago, are you?

  6. Brian Wood says:

    “I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy.” – Martin Luther King, Jr

    Not to just lay that quote out there with no commentary (not that it doesn’t work on its own), but I lived through 9/11 just like Heidi did and I don’t feel the need for dancing and celebration, and I certainly don’t need to see corpses hanging in Times Square.

    Seeing the footage this morning of stadiums of people singing, I dunno… I think at the very least there is a gravity to the whole thing that calls for a certain respect – it was a nasty end to a very long and grim situation. And while I would rather bin Laden didn’t exist than exist, there is something deeply cynical and, well, bloodthirsty about being so giddy about it.

  7. ‎”I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
    –Martin Luther King, Jr.

  8. Synsidar says:

    Enjoy your little hate-filled jig.

    I’m glad that he’s dead as well. When the world is a better place without someone, there’s no shame in appreciating his demise. People aren’t robots.

    SRS

  9. I just want to apologize for my earlier post. I shouldn’t have made that comment.

    If this is what Heidi needs as part of her mourning and recovery from the events of 9/11, so be it.

    My thoughts on the subject really don’t matter. It’s her blog, her space, her forum. She should be able to use it how she likes.

  10. R. Maheras says:

    I love it when people quote MLK or Ghandi when they argue, “See! Everything can be resolved peacefully!”

    In reality, sometimes it can, and sometimes it can’t.

    In both MLK’s and Ghandi’s cases, they practiced their peaceful civil disobedience in societies where, although some elements of the “ruling class” could be murderous, the majority of people in those democracies were fair-minded and somewhat open to change.

    Because the fact is, if Ghandi and MLK had tried their tactics in Hitler’s Germany or Stalin’s Russia, neither would be famous today because they would have been purged the instant they opened their mouths.

  11. http://www.poynter.org/latest-news/top-stories/130349/newspaper-front-pages-capture-elation-relief-that-osama-bin-laden-was-captured-killed/

    I think it’s perfectly acceptable to take satisfaction in the death of a mass murderer like bin Laden — just like people in 1945 felt when news arrived of Hitler’s suicide.

    Which headline do you prefer — “We got the bastard” or “Burn in Hell”?

  12. NateinNY says:

    @Matt

    It’s great that you apologized for being a douchebag. With that in mind, I still want to go on record that I will always think of you as a douchebag for making that comment. Hopefully we can all move on from this as adults and go F$%k yourself.

  13. “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,”

    This is good advice, but hard advice to live by, sometimes. Not being able to, at any given point in your life, does NOT make you a bad person. We’re only human. Thanks God we have love and forgiveness to fall back on. I’d also like to note that I am very grateful that this is a place where even though this is a comics blog, we can just shoot the shit here, when need be.

    On a lighter note: “HEY FRANK MILLER!!! YOU SNOOZE YOU LOSE!!!” Big fan.

  14. Brian J. says:

    http://www.salon.com/news/politics/war_room/2011/05/02/osama_and_chants_of_usa

    I felt this article captured the feelings I had when I heard people chanting, “USA! USA!” as a backdrop on many an NPR newstory I listened to this morning.

    “[O]ur reaction to the news last night should be the kind often exhibited by victims’ families at a perpetrator’s lethal injection — a reaction typically marked by both muted relief but also by sadness over the fact that the perpetrators’ innocent victims are gone forever, the fact that the perpetrator’s death cannot change the past, and the fact that our world continues to produce such monstrous perpetrators in the first place.

    “When we lose the sadness part — when all we do is happily scream “USA! USA! USA!” at news of yet more killing in a now unending back-and-forth war — it’s a sign we may be inadvertently letting the monsters win.”

  15. bad wolf says:

    I just think this is the closest this generation is going to get to a V-J day. Remember the photo of the couple kissing in Times Square surrounded by a cheering throng? This as much as we’ll get for a sense of closure.

    I think the quote i’ll take away from this is Synsidars’: “People aren’t robots.”

  16. The Beat says:

    Matt: apology accepted.

    BTW that MLK “quote” is apparently a Twitter fake: http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2011/05/out-of-osamas-death-a-fake-quotation-is-born/238220/

    And now let’s all move on.

  17. It’s great to know that President Obama had other things in his mind than watching the Royal Wedding, being concerned about Trump’s bleatings about his grades, or
    worried on how he was perform his jokes in front of the Fourth Estate for the Correspondent Dinner…

    That he managed to deliver upon a stated goal
    for his Presidency two years into his term after the 8 years squandered by his predecessor— HERE is Mission Accomplished!

    As for “celebrating” the death of bin Laden:

    For myself, Georgetown fratboys chanting “U-S-A! U-S-A!”in front of the White House fade before the comments made by relatives of those lost on Sept. 11th— for THEIR reflections on what the killing of the Al-Qaeda leader in the context of the loss they have suffered means more to me than yahoos
    cheering a TEAM MERKA point scored (however
    “human” and “non-robotic” their cheers may be).

    It is those relatives’ comments that carry the most weight with me. Having sadly an immediate personal connection as it were to bin Laden’s death gives their thoughts and opinions a far greater import than ANY other, imo…

    Again, for myself, the comments of a mother whose son was aboard a United Airlines flight that crashed into the World Trade Center ring above others:

    She said knowing bin Laden is dead does not bring closure.
    “I never will feel closure. The only way I’d feel closure is to have my son right here with me”
    .

    And I feel that THIS is true, whether you’re 2 miles or 2800 from Ground Zero.

  18. Karen says:

    The ACTUAL MLK quote:

    And so I say to you today that I still stand by nonviolence. (Yes) And I am still convinced [applause], and I’m still convinced that it is the most potent weapon available to the Negro in his struggle for justice in this country.

    And the other thing is, I’m concerned about a better world. I’m concerned about justice; I’m concerned about brotherhood; I’m concerned about truth. (That’s right) And when one is concerned about that, he can never advocate violence. For through violence you may murder a murderer, but you can’t murder murder. (Yes) Through violence you may murder a liar, but you can’t establish truth. (That’s right) Through violence you may murder a hater, but you can’t murder hate through violence. (All right, That’s right) Darkness cannot put out darkness; only light can do that. [applause]

    http://mlk-kpp01.stanford.edu/index.php/kingpapers/article/where_do_we_go_from_here/

  19. Brian Wood says:

    That MLK quote – or if its fake then the sentiment, doesn’t say that violence is never necessary. What it says is that we shouldn’t ever rejoice in the death of others. The reason I used it is I believe that while someone can be happy that a guy like bin Laden no longer exists, cheering and hooha-ing and like some fratboy is, at best, at odds with the gravity of the whole thing, and at worst the actions of a sociopath.

    Like I said, its a nasty, violent end to a very grim chapter in our history. People aren’t robots, yes, and no one is saying they are or should be. But we are also capable of acting appropriately, and something like this:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/alexarbuckle/5678846059/

    is in profoundly bad taste. What happened the day before yesterday wasn’t the plot of a reality TV show.

    b

  20. Martha says:

    Matt, go fuck yourself.

  21. Briareos says:

    Brian J.:

    That is the worst piece of garbage I’ve ever heard. That person is basically saying that normal everyday Americans are equal to garbage like Al-Qaeda. You should be ashamed of yourself…

    We did nothing to these people. They hate us because we are free to live our lives as we see fit. They hate us because we support Israel’s right to exist and not be wiped off the face of the earth. That is why they attacked us.

  22. Torsten Adair says:

    Palestinians celebrated the attacks of 9/11.
    Americans celebrated the death of Osama bin Laden. Both are distasteful and shameful.

    Some may believe the theory that al-Qaeda and militant Islamists hate us for our freedoms, or our debauchery. Others may despise us because we support the Israeli government which then subjugates Palestinians, or because our Iraqi embargo caused children to be malnourished. (Or so the average Arab believes.) Or perhaps they read about American involvement in the Middle East, such as how we made a mess of Iran and Iraq.

    Fortunately, the Arab Spring had little encouragement from the United States, and this democratization might be the best offensive against the radical ideas of Wahhabism.

  23. Badpenny says:

    Who says people are cheering for his actual death? It can’t be cheering that a very long, very expensive manhunt that’s cost many lives is over? There are a lot of ways to interpret the cheers for this.

    As for the cheering we heard on 9/11, it’s kind of hard to misinterpret those.

  24. Dreamer says:

    Sorry to spoil your self-imposed sense of closure, but aside from the point that even fbi not considering bin-laden’s connection to 9/11 to be factual (http://bit.ly/dqsc4N) this shooting surely do not disperse the hatred that would cause such an horrendous crime to be committed.

    How shameful to read such a remark in a place that i usually have otherwise enjoyed visiting.

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