National Day of Service 9/11 | NOT Political Hijacking

Serve your fellow man

They died in service of their country, as did those who worked to save lives on 9/11. Why shouldn't that be honored as a national day of service, to remember them? (Photo: flickr.com)

They died in service of their country, as did those who worked to save lives on 9/11. Why shouldn't that be honored as a national day of service, to remember them? (Photo: flickr.com)

Donald Kent Douglas recently contributed an article to Pajamas Media entitled “A ‘National Day of Service?’ Or a Political Hijacking of 9/11?” To say the least, I find his opinions to be overly cynical and I cannot agree with them. But that’s not all. To think that naming 9/11 a National Day of Service somehow dishonors those who lost their lives on that tragic day is backward.

To openly make the claim that President Obama and the Democrats are attempting to “reclaim” the day from Bush Republicans is not only cynical, but indicative of the kind of irrationality that has made reasonable discourse during the health care town halls largely impossible. People need emergency money for coverage, but the extreme right invokes zombies and death books to scare, rather than engaging in back-and-forth discussion. A National Day of Service is an emergency loan to the whole of America.

Obama signed the bill in April

September 11 is now “an annually recognized National Day of Service and Remembrance,” meant to “encourage and facilitate community service across the country.” Douglas, who believes that we live in a shadow reality where the president is actually a Nazi, sites an American Spectator piece by Matthew Vadum to trump up his cause:

The Obama White House is behind a cynical, coldly calculated political effort to erase the meaning of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks from the American psyche and convert Sept. 11 into a day of leftist celebration and statist idolatry.

In short, Vadum and Douglas believe that rather than honoring those who served and died with service for our own for those in need, Obama is “hijacking our generation’s day of infamy, turning it into a ‘socialist holiday of community service.'”

Proof of this?

It’s a single “White House-sponsored teleconference,” in which “the entire array of America-bashing left-wing special interests” attacked 9/11 as a “day of fear.” But Mr. Douglas and Mr. Vadum, that’s exactly what 9/11 is but should not be. Using  9/11 as a constant call to war against terrorism is fear mongering. Service is honorable; fear is paralysis unless it inspires us to act. Soldiers served their country. Those who gave their lives so that others could be saved on 9/11 did the same. Why shouldn’t we honor them with a National Day of Service? Contrary to previous reports, it isn’t mandatory. People can do as their consciences and skills dictate.

He seeks to honor the memories of those who have died, and serving your fellow man as they did is a perfect memorial. What can a clear-thinking person find wrong with that? (Photo: thewhizzer.blogspot.com)

He seeks to honor the memories of those who have died, and serving your fellow man as they did is a perfect memorial. What can a clear-thinking person find wrong with that? (Photo: thewhizzer.blogspot.com)

Vadum questions the motives of the National Day of Service because of who may or may not have been involved in a conference call that may or may not have occurred. I don’t care if Ronald McDonald, Mayor McCheese and Benedict Arnold were in on that meeting… if the outcome is service that reminds us of those who have gone before us, that is noble. If that sound like hijacking to you, I advise you to seek help.

Why not GIVE?

The Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education (GIVE) Act – HR 1388 – officially passes on the torch of responsibility to current generations. At the very least, this answers former President John F. Kennedy’s call for us to “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.” Mr. Douglas, to call this “a paramilitary force of volunteer brown shirts” discredits the memory of 9/11 victims in the way you’re accusing Obama of doing. The green community service projects that will come out of GIVE will improve the nation as a whole. Yet you have the gall to say that “undeserved” communities would be served. Considering your seeming obsession with denigrating the “Hip Hop Caucus Advisory Board,” are you trying to show us your racism? If so, you’re succeeding.

The fear mongering is yours

Douglas next references an essay by Columbia history professor Eric Foner. Foner writes, “I’m not sure which is more frightening: the horror that engulfed New York City or the apocalyptic rhetoric emanating daily from the White House.” Then you attempt to confuse readers by invoking the rhetoric of Ward Churchill, who claimed the people in the Twin Towers deserved to die. Last I checked, Ward Churchill does not represent Obama administration policy, nor does it represent popular opinion in any way. A National Day of Service is honorable, a signpost on the way toward a better America. At the very least, it’ll be an outlet to help curb the rampaging obesity rate. All voluntary, of course. Not mandatory. It’s an outlet to do well and be active.

Obama makes reasonable associations, Douglas froths at the mouth

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So making the World Trade Center Memorial  “a high-tech, multimedia tutorial about man’s inhumanity to man, from Native American genocide to the lynchings and cross-burnings of the Jim Crow South, from the Third Reich’s Final Solution to the Soviet gulags and beyond” is in some way inaccurate, Mr. Douglas? Was it not intolerance that led to the tragedy? How is that hijacking the somber remembrance of those who died? If anything, those who died join in the stand against intolerance and hate. It is yet another reminder that America needs something like a National Day of Service. Those who died are honored BY acts of service. It’s not a “Republican” or “Democrat” day; it’s a day that honors the best in humanity – the spirit of service. That is a just cause… there is a poetic justice in what GIVE makes possible. It is emergency money to empower those who want to serve but didn’t have the means to do so before.

Serving the greater good

Douglas ends his screed by labeling the National Day of Service “not a noble national service,” but “a cold, calculating national disgrace.” I’m sorry, sir, but I don’t think you understand what it means to be an American. The right to choose to serve others on a National Day of Service (or any other day, for that matter) is a true sign of humanity. Latching on to the baseless complaint that adding noble action to the memorial of the fallen is political grandstanding is not only misguided, but it is bitter to the point of being unpalatable. However, you do have the right to your opinion, being an American. How do you honor the fallen, Mr. Douglas?

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