City Desk

It’s Okay That 9/11 Was Worse In New York, Marc Fisher

Over the weekend, Postie Marc Fisher lamented the fact that the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon doesn’t get as much attention as the 10th anniversary approaches as the attack on New York does. Yet Fisher writes the piece with a pretty keen awareness of why this is so. His 1,700-word essay is full of hedging statements:

Comparing one person’s pain with another’s, or one city’s with another’s, can feel disturbing, even petty.

There are good, natural reasons for the imbalance between the New York and Pentagon stories...

Even the Pentagon’s efficiency militated against public memory of the attack there.

It is possible to recognize the dominance of the New York story without resenting it.

Fisher actually spends more time explaining why New York gets more coverage—the number of casualties (more than 2,700 to the Pentagon's 184), more news media coverage and video, the fact that the World Trade Center was located in the middle of New York City—and quoting sources who agree that such coverage is reasonable, than he does explaining why it's wrong.

At best, he offers up a limp defense of something we already know: The Pentagon attack matters. The lives lost there matter, too. And, for that matter, so do the lives of the 44 people Fisher doesn't mention: those who died when United Airlines flight 93 hit the ground in a Pennsylvania field. And what about the thousands of New York first responders who have sickened in the 10 years since—hundreds of whom have died?

I can't help but pick up on a bit of regional defensiveness, or what some may call D.C.'s inferiority complex regarding New York. But why? It's all bad. There's no sense in playing "me too" when the stakes were so high.

Photo by U.S. Navy Specialist 1st Class Brandan W. Schulze via Wikimedia Commons

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