Saturday, September 06, 2008

A 9/11 Break From Rancor

For an instant next Thursday, the election-year tide of acrimony and attack ads will be rolled back as Barack Obama and John McCain come together at Ground Zero to mark the seventh anniversary of the terrorist attacks of 2001.

“All of us came together on 9/11--not as Democrats or Republicans--but as Americans,” the candidates said in a joint statement today. “In smoke-filled corridors and on the steps of the Capitol, at blood banks and at vigils, we were united as one American family.

“On Thursday, we will put aside politics and come together to renew that unity, to honor the memory of each and every American who died, and to grieve with the families and friends who lost loved ones. We will also give thanks for the firefighters, police, and emergency responders who set a heroic example of selfless service, and for the men and women who serve today in defense of the freedom and security that came under attack in New York City, at the Pentagon, and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.”

The idea of a joint appearance was broached by Obama in a congratulatory phone call to McCain after his convention speech, and the two will be appear afterward in a forum at Columbia University.

It may not be a healing moment for the candidates, but for the rest of us, their actions on Thursday will be a reminder of the true spirit of patriotism and civility that Americans are hungering for in public life.

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