January 6, 2002
Heroes of United Airlines Flight 93 overshadowed by New York's self-image

The horror of the September 11th terrorist attacks on the twin towers of the World Trade Center notwithstanding, it's disturbing to see what seems to be unfolding from the dreadful event. Indeed, prior to the attack on America, New York's power establishment viewed itself as the center of the universe. But that longstanding viewpoint has exploited the tragedy of the WTC beyond patriotism and tasteful reason.

Surely, the loss of life from the WTC attack was far greater than the attack on the Pentagon and the plane crash in Pennsylvania. However, the news media have focused their trademark over-dramatic infotainment eye on the greatest production ever staged, reported and recorded at "Ground Zero," essentially ignoring the other attack sites.

Certainly, heroism was almost commonplace among New York's firefighters, police officers and others from the WTC before and after the towers imploded. Alas, their stories are heart-wrenching, not to mention the heroes from the Pentagon attack, the many victims and families from both, and the generous outpouring from America.

But when it comes to unbridled courage in the face of imminent death, the young men aboard United Airlines Flight 93 are unparalleled heroes for overpowering the terrorist suicide hijackers, and preventing that aircraft missile from striking Washington, possibly the Capitol building, the White House, or a second strike on the Pentagon.

Even though they were recognized for their heroism, it paled in comparison to the broad brush, self-image of New York. Indeed, if there are to be any national monuments erected to the heroes and victims of September 11th, the first should be placed over the site of that stark imprint of Flight 93 on the field in Pennsylvania.

New York is the media and financial capitol of America and the world, but its record of responsibility and accountability in those areas have been shameful at best, and they are woefully out of touch with the rest of the country. Though they might act like it, they should not be the "Emerald City of OZ," and the WTC shouldn't be the only "Ground Zero."

Clearly, New York and the media are long overdue for a trend of impartiality and humility. There is no center of the universe, especially in America.

Daniel B. Jeffs, founder
The Direct Democracy Center