These are reflections of a recent trip to New York around Saint Patrick Day.)
Twice, terrorists attacked the World Trade Center, the second being the attack on 9/11 but often forgotten is the first that occurred on February 26, 1993. That attack killed 6 people and injuring a thousand more when an explosion erupted in the garage. The first attack was a first warning for what laid ahead.
The 9/11memorial venerates those who died in both attacks and reminds us of what happened so that the day should never be forgotten. Like the Phoenix rising from the ashes, four new versions of the World Trade Center will surround the 8 acre ground featuring two waterfall ponds with the names of those who passed away. The memorial is strict simplicity; hallowed ground that merely allows people to reflect on those who died. The buildings will include 1 World Trade center, a massive 1776 feet when completed; making it the largest in the United States. The 1776 feet is symbolic of the year of our birth and the building sticks up in the air like a middle finger to those who destroyed the original.
Somehow, memory seems to have drifted farther from our mind set and there are many who actually view us as the guilty party on that day. As we leave Iraq and Afghanistan, many Americans feel what happened over the past decade was worthless and even the death of Osama Bin Laden has done little to ease the losses.
Yet, the memorial reminds us that evil exists and it is just a moment away. There are no rules when it comes to diplomacy as anarchy and violence coexist. Peace is but a wish whereas war is the permanent state of humanity. Someplace, somewhere, there exists rumors of war coming or occurring. 9/11 stands a reminder that we are under siege and the imperfect democracy, forever targeted.
Saint Patrick;s cathedral on Saint Patrick’s Day served as a quick break away from the revelry outside. Along the parade route, massive amount of humanity some hundreds of thousands strong celebrated Irish heritage and Saint Patrick’s Day but inside the Church, there was quiet, serenity and peace. A Democratic Presidential candidate observed to a group of rich progressive donors in San Francisco that many of his blue collar Democratic supporters cling to God and guns in times of crisis. While the left declares war on the Catholic Church in particular and religion in general, Saint Patrick is a reminder of permanent things that go beyond the left’s understanding of society. For the left, government is society and all things must be rendered unto Caesar. For the average American, there are things to render unto Caesar, and things to render unto God, thus limiting the power of Caesar.
Madison Square Garden is one of the Holy Cathedrals not just to sports but culture itself. It was 41 years ago, but somehow it seems just like yesterday, when Ali fought Frazier for the fight of the century. (We can make the case that this was the sporting event of the past century). Ali and Frazier represented the divide that existed at that time; Ali representing the fight against the establishment, the Vietnam War and racism whereas Frazier became the symbol of the establishment. For Frazier, he was put in a role that he never asked for or believed. What is rarely known, Frazier helped Ali in many ways during Ali’s exile and when Ali made him out to be Uncle Tom; Frazier felt betrayed. (As one of Ali’s corner men noted, Frazier was all raging black and Frazier often noted that he was blacker than Ali and had on all black crew in contrast to Ali). Frazier won the greatest fight ever and the two would produce 41 rounds of some of the most brutal in boxing history.
On Saint Patrick’s Day, the Garden was alive with a Irish twist as Irish fighter Matthew Macklin challenged the best Middleweight in Sergio Martinez and like the Garden of yore; the fight atmosphere was electrifying. While boxing no longer carries the imagination it once did, there are those moments that one is reminded of its past glory. While Macklin came up short, it ended in spectacular fashion with Martinez scoring an eleventh round stoppage against Macklin. Sports occasionally become part of the larger culture and like Religion, they are a reminder there is more to our culture and society than government. Government is but one player and there are those moments we need to be reminded of that; whether it is celebrating Saint Patrick’s Day, spending a few moments in a Cathedral reflecting or enjoying a sporting event in one of the great arenas.
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