Today is Patriot Day, the annual remembrance of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. The S.O. and I were having lunch at the Cue Master in Baraga the other day when the subject of 9/11 came up in conversation. Two of the televisions were tuned to ESPN's "Outside the Lines." Topic of discussion on OTL was how Colin Kaepernick's decision not to stand for the national anthem has led to other athletes showing their support by also not standing. A number of people were saying that because game day, Sunday, was also Patriot Day the athletes should skip the protest. After all, it's a solemn day and everyone must show respect.
This led we folk in the bar to ask the question if it's such an important solemn day why are there still going to be football games? It's okay for the teams to play and fans to get drunk and rowdy, but it's not okay to protest? If it's a national day of remembrance amd/or mourning, shouldn't some effort be made at not having it be just another Sunday game day? Good question, and obviously not answerable. Conversation moved on to how it's now been enough years that there are getting to be more and more young people for whom September 11 is just another date on the calendar. For them it's not real, it's just something old people talk about.
Which in turn led to speculation as to when the commercialization of 9/11 would begin. When will we start seeing sales flyers that include lines like "prices are falling just like the towers?" Okay, so maybe that one is far enough over the line into outrageously bad taste that it'll never happen, but a Walmart in Florida recently got into public relations trouble for stacking Coke products into a model of the World Trade Center. The store may have claimed it was a tribute, but the public saw it for what it was: a remarkably tacky effort at peddling Coca Cola. Whoever designed the display made the mistake of being a few years too early with the exploitation. Ten years from now odds are no one would bat an eye. Stores advertise Memorial Day and Veterans Day sales, why not Patriot Day?
Well, maybe not. It does fall really close to the start of the school year and Labor Day, two occasions that already generate a lot of consumer hype. What's more likely to happen with Patriot Day is that it fades into obscurity as times passes and memories fade. It'll become like Flag Day, one of those dates that's noted on a calendar but almost no one remembers still exists -- or why.