Updated and bumped: I wrote the following last year on September 11. Sadly, nothing has changed since then. President Obama is still trying to sell the idea that this day should be used as a day of service, something that misses the point so completely as to almost be despicable.
So, I think it is worth repeating what I wrote on September 11, 2010:
The President has asked us to consider today “a national day of service and remembrance”. Though the sentiment seems reasonable, I must respectively disagree.
September 11 should not be turned into a day to celebrate volunteerism or service or American charity. Though these values are profound, important, and an expression of much of what makes our nation great, they are not why we remember September 11.
We remember the evil acts commited on September 11, 2001 in order to remind us that there is evil in the world.
We remember these evil acts so that we will have the strength to fight that evil, with every fiber of our being.
We remember those who died in order to prevent future attacks and further deaths.
We remember so that no one can ever try to make believe these events did not happen.
We remember so that no one can spread the lie that the perpetrators were something other than what they were: Men who had decided to kill in the name of Islam, based on what they believed their religion taught them.
And finally, and most important, we remember the horrible events of September 11, 2001 so that those innocent murdered souls — whose only crime that day was going to work — will not have died in vain.
From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.
Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him. The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today. He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future. Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.