Thursday, September 08, 2011


This Sunday is America's "Alive Day". That's a term that, as far as I know, is a coinage of the Iraq war -- it's a function of the fact that medical advances have brought more people home, alive and damaged, than ever before in the history of warfare. This war has produced more amputees than any conflict since the Civil War. Back then amputations resulted from simple gunshot wounds -- more grievous injuries, from artillery and such, killed instantly. Today, with vastly greater firepower in countless types of weapons, if the injured are evacuated in short order, their survival rate is over 90%. The day these warriors were hit, and didn't die, is their Alive Day.

In the ten years since September 11 and the start of the wars against terrorism, I have accumulated a small collection of videos that deserved to be bought and paid attention to. So I bought them to show my support, especially of people like
J.D. Johannes, one of the self-embedded reporters who raised their own money and put themsleves in harm's way to get the true story out. I sent "walkin' around money" to Johannes and Bill Roggio, and more serious money to Michael Yon; and I bought two editions of Johannes' combat video documentary Outside the Wire.

And there they sat, gathering dust on my bookshelf. I could never make myself watch them. Sitting alongside was Alive Day Memories, actor James Gandolfini's interviews with severely wounded Iraq veterans, supplemented by video of the warriors before their injuries, during and after their hospitalizations, sometimes even the scene of the attack on their Alive Days through footage later released by "insurgents" showing massive IED explosions, complete with soundtrack of the sickeningly triumphant mantra "Allahu Akbar", as men like Army Sgt. Bryan Anderson, somewhere within the fireball, are being relieved of 3 out of 4 limbs.

Also in the mix are French brothers
Jules and Gedeon Naudet's documentary 9/11, being their accidental history of September 11 in Manhattan, which started its life as a human interest documentary about rookie firemen; The Third Jihad, Dr. Zuhdi Jasser's 2008 close look at the true nature of the enemy; and my most recent addition, the commercial film/docudrama United 93.

This is my week for watching them all, ticked off one by one, sandwiched between various TV specials. Call it wallowing -- I do. It's time.


I learned today, to my great disappointment, that the majority of the tributes which once collectively formed the 2996 Project -- a website linking up personal tributes to every person killed on September 11 -- have gone offline into non-functional links. How very sad. As this anniversary day approached, I've been thinking about how I would re-post my tributes, and how important it would be to do so at this ten-year mark, and I find it hard to understand how more than 2000 of the one-time contributors to this project would not feel compelled to refresh their works for this anniversary year. However, that's how it is. We soldier on.

Once again, we remember:

Jack Charles Aaron
John Thomas McErlean

Rick Rescorla

Ken Basnicki
David Barkway


Never forget the sacrifice of:

Capt. Kyle Van de Giesen, USMC
1st Lt. Jared Landaker USMC
1st Lt. Travis Manion USMC

Lt. Brendan Looney USN

Never forget the suffering of:


Never forget the heroism of:

Tom Burnett
Jeremy Glick
Todd Beamer
Mark Bingham
and all the passengers and crew of United 93
Terrorism ruled in the United States for approximately one hour and twenty minutes. Then these ordinary Americans punched back.
They were the Minutemen of our age.