Saturday, September 10, 2011

10 Years After: How We Remembered


10 Years After, 2011: New York City will commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks with a ceremony at the World Trade Center site on Sunday, when the nation pauses to grieve for the dead and reflect on the decade since terrorists toppled the Twin Towers, damaged the Pentagon and crashed a jetliner in rural Pennsylvania.  President Barack Obama and his predecessor, former President George W. Bush, will be among the eight current or former elected officials to deliver readings at the ceremony, which is set to begin at 8:35 a.m. with the sound of bagpipes and drummers. Mr. Obama, the first sitting president to attend the annual ceremony, gave the green light earlier this year for the military mission that killed Osama bin Laden, the mastermind behind the deadliest foreign attack on American soil.  While most of the attention will focus on New York's ceremony, there will also be events at the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania, plus many smaller observances in communities across the country, from a stair climb in Seattle to a 9/11 memorial dedication in Sarasota, Fla. (September 10, 2011)

10 Years After, 1996: At a mournful, 10-year remembrance today, a rumbling flyover of Air Force jets at the precise moment of Challenger’s last liftoff gave way to 73 seconds of silence.  The silence, matching the doomed flight’s duration, was punctuated only by traffic and the screams of sea gulls. . .Across the United States, people remembered as though it were yesterday.  (January 29, 1996)

10 Years After, 1973: About 300 persons gathered in a cold wind at Kennedy Memorial Plaza today for 30 minutes of music and prayer to eulogize President John F. Kennedy one day ahead of the 10th anniversary of his assassination.  . .Ten years?  Sometimes it seems like only yesterday. . The time has been too short to suppress the chill that still overtakes me when someone’s question brings back that awful memory. . .Sometimes it seem that was another century.  The Presidency was a noble instrument of progress then.  Politics was a proud profession. . .Young people volunteered for the Peace Corps and Government service. . .The White House was a different place then.  It was filled with confidence and humor.  (November 22, 1973)

10 years After, 1951: Ten tremendous years have passed since that terrible Sunday of Pearl Harbor which President Roosevelt described as “a day that will live in infamy.”  If you are thinking in terms of Eastern standard time we may clock the anniversary of the entry of the United States in the Second World War at approximately twenty-five minutes after one this afternoon.  At that moment the hurrying tide of history washed over the last pinnacles of our isolationism.  It was no longer possible, and has not since been possible, for us to deny our historic mission in modern history.   (December 7, 1951)

10 Years After, 1925: If a historian were to attempt to determine the exact day and hour upon which the outcome of the World War was decided he might, perhaps, fix upon May 7, 1915, at ten minutes after 2 in the afternoon. It was at this moment that a torpedo, fired from the German U-boat 20 by Lieut. Capt. Schwieger, struck the steamship Lusitania.  Eighteen minutes later the vessel had gone to the bottom, carrying with her 785 men, women and children. . .The spot where the Lusitania went down, off the coast of Ireland, is passed by ships today with a sense of hush and sadness.  As the ocean grave is pointed out, passengers line the rails and gaze, while the tragic story lives again, in fragments of remembering, upon many lips.  . ."We were sitting at lunch when we felt a violent shock and broken glass from the portholes flew all about us.  Of course, everyone got up and started for the deck.  There was no pushing or crowding.  One of our party kept assuring everyone that there was no danger.  The ship was already listing.” (May 3, 1925)

10 Years After, 1908: The destruction of the battleship Maine in Havana Harbor ten years ago today was recalled by the firing at noon of 21-minute guns at the Charlestown Navy Yard and at the forts in Boston Harbor.  Flags were also lowered to half-mast at the Government posts. (February 15, 1908).  And although that hoped-for time when the “war drums cease from throbbing” seems now even more remote than it did when just prior to the enactment of that tragedy in Havana Harbor parochialists were preaching of the obsolescence of war, Washington wires bring word that the Congress has cut the navy appropriations bill in half and that it will probably further “economize” by cutting it in half again. . . .(February 16, 1908)

10 Years After, 1881: Ten years have passed away since the great Chicago fire. . .Before the bricks of the buildings which had burned had cooled off, Chicago with characteristic nerve and energy began to rebuild, and the world looked on with memorable sympathy. . .No monument has ever been erected to commemorate the event, and really Chicago needs none but herself.  A slab was recently put in the window of a store built on the corner of De Koven and Jefferson streets, to show where the fire began. . .While that awful calamity of October 9, 1871 still has its dismal shadows in many homes, the retrospect on the progress made by the city in the past decade is very encouraging, and is a promise of still greater and more rapid progress in the future. . .(October 12, 1881)