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Being Reminded that We're All Simply Americans


As I sat, remembering the pain, anger, loss, grief, patriotism, and unity that 9/11 caused, I can't help but also think about the controversy that New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin's comment caused a couple of weeks ago. The hoopla began the Thursday before the 60 Minutes episode where Nagin was interviewed for the one year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. When asked by the reporter why the recovery effort seems to be going so slow in New Orleans, Nagin went on the offensive and reminded the reporter that New York was still grappling with its own rebuilding effort where the Twin Towers once stood. In replying to the reporter's question about New Orleans, Nagin ended up referring to the spot where the towers once stood as "a hole in the ground" that still exists although it has been five years since 9/11.

While I found his reference completely insensitive, I understood the angst behind it. I am not one who particularly sympathizes with or for politicians, but I can relate to why Nagin grew defensive. Despite it being a year plus since Katrina, her survivors are still dealing with fear, anxiety, depression, uncertainty, grief, and several other emotional and mental issues. We've experienced our share of verbal abuse about our city and ourselves, so it's almost natural for us to go on the defensive. Don't roll into town and question us in a way that seems to suggest that what happened in New York was more devastating, and expect us to remain hospitable.

Still, with that said, as a public servant, and a representative of New Orleans and its residents, Nagin should have kept the first answer to pop into his head to himself. He should have used more tact and made his point in a more eloquent way. Although he has recently made a reputation for himself as a "straight-talker," there are more intelligent ways in which he could have made his points. In the future, I hope he chooses those ways when controversial issues arise because just as we continue to suffer, I'm sure that the families and friends of 9/11 victims continue to do so, too. The disasters of 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina are incomparable--they are both devastating enough to cause grief for years and years and years. What's more important to me, at least, is that we remember and that we remain there for each other as Americans and simply as human beings.

Submitted by:

C. M. Clifton

C. M. Clifton is an author at http://www.Writing.Com which is a site for Writers. The opinions expressed by the author are solely hers.





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