He was gearing up for just another day of hard work in a mundane job – but at least it was a job. And it happened to be at one of the most prestigious and famous restaurants in the world. In fact, it was on top of the world. Never mind that he didn’t have regular access to the spectacular views from the establishment that occupied the 106th and 107th floors of the North Tower of the World Trade Center, he could catch a glimpse here and there on his breaks.
On September 11, 2001 the sky was clear and the view was especially breathtaking. But the beauty of that scene would give way to an explosion of horror in a brief and life-shattering moment. Manuel Emilio Mejia – kitchen worker at the Windows on the World restaurant – would become a victim of mind-boggling terror. His friends and family would grieve and the nation would remember.
Then time would go by and, though those closest to him in life would never fade in their passionate memory of him, the nation would move on – not just to life as usual, but even toward an eventual awkward shift as patriotic fervor and a national sense of resolve morphed into ominous forgetfulness. Some even started to want to “reach out” to those who were responsible for Mejia’s tragic death, as well as nearly 2,800 others who died that fateful, but now long-gone-not-likely-to-happen-again-because-better-people-are-in-charge, day.
New York City’s medical examiner recently announced that they have positively identified – via DNA technology – the remains of 54-year old Manuel Emilio Mejia. His name will be in the news for a few days as this announcement cycles through the media. But it will quickly fade into a footnote, because – you see – we are moving on, we are reaching out, we are charting a new course, and we are making the age-old mistake of willfully forgetting the past.
The Greatest Generation never forgot Pearl Harbor. That’s one of the things that made them great.
These days the war on terror is over as a nomenclature as if changing terminology can change reality. But there was a gigantic elephant in that G-20 room in London a few days ago. So many of the nations represented have a persistent and growing “Muslim” problem. And it seems as if the so-called “best and brightest” of the most “progressive” nations simply insist on ignoring it.