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Posted: 9/11/2004 10:00:10 PM EST
Let's all join hands and put this unsavory event behind us now, shall we?

San Francisco Chronicle
Saturday, September 11, 2004

Joe Garofoli, Chronicle Staff Writer

A Day of Mourning, a Day of Moving On

With terror anniversary on a weekend for the first time, event planners face a choice

------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bride-to-be Marissa Molano had two choices for her Wine Country wedding: Aug. 14 and Sept. 11. She chose the latter because the weekend was more convenient. Then she realized that "Sept. 11 was that Sept. 11."

And she had to make a decision.

This year marks the first time the anniversary of the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history falls on a weekend. That turn of the calendar is becoming a cultural marker, prompting many Americans to rethink how they'll commemorate the day and handle all the emotional and political baggage that comes with it.

While the nation will be full of solemn public ceremonies today, from San Francisco's Crissy Field to ground zero in lower Manhattan, the third anniversary of the attacks is offering those who did not have a personal connection to the victims a chance to let Sept. 11 evolve beyond a day to grieve the dead. And it is even offering some survivors and victims' families a new way to acknowledge the occasion.

While a few of Molano's friends raised an eyebrow that she was locking herself into a Sept. 11 wedding anniversary date, others were supportive. One friend told her, "I'm so glad you're doing that. It's my birthday, and I feel like I can't celebrate."

Molano's fiance, Steve Chenoweth, never hesitated.

"Right away he told me, 'Not getting married on Sept. 11 is like not getting married on Dec. 7. Where do you stop? It's a date. You've got to move on,' " Molano said.

The Florida resident is getting married in the Sonoma County town of Kenwood because she loves the area. She will ask their minister to acknowledge the attack's victims in his pre-reception blessing before their 85 guests, most of whom are coming from the East Coast.

"I'm so passionate about what happened that day," said Molano, a hotel group sales manager, "but if you don't have your wedding on Sept. 11, then they win."

At ground zero today, 200 parents and grandparents of the 2,792 people killed in the attack on the World Trade Center will read the names of the victims. New York state will observe a moment of silence, and at nightfall two giant beams of light representing the two towers will soar above the crater in lower Manhattan.

For the third year in a row at San Francisco's Crissy Field, Jeffrey "Flag Man" Orth will appear at a 5:30 a.m. ceremony coinciding with the East Coast commemorations, this year accompanied by a military honor guard, a girls choir and a poet.

Yet three months ago, the 54-year-old real estate agent stopped doing the personal remembrance that earned him his nickname: walking across the Golden Gate Bridge on the 11th of every month carrying a flag.

"I don't know why I stopped -- I just did," Orth said. "It became a chore. That's not to diminish the impact the 11th had on our nation. We do grieve, and the grieving process evolves.

"I still think it's very important to do something on that day," he said.

So does Nikki Stern, executive director of Families of September 11, which includes 1,600 relatives of people killed in the terrorist attacks as well as survivors. But she, too, acknowledges that there may be "9/11 fatigue" among those who did not lose someone that day.

"Even among family members, there is a greater need this year to do something privately," said Stern, a New Jersey resident whose husband, Jim Potorti, died at the World Trade Center. Speaking for herself and not her organization, Stern said, "The general public needs another evolution in the way they commemorate the day."

One solution: Stern's organization is among the victims groups endorsing a plan to turn Sept. 11 into something called "One Day's Pay." On that day, employers would release employees to do volunteer work -- "one day's payment of service" -- in the community.

Stern said transforming Sept. 11 into a day of community service would be better than turning it into a national holiday, as some politicians have suggested.

"You know what will happen to it," Stern said. "People will just care about taking a day off of work and going to the Toyota blowout sale."

The first week of September can be intense for the victims' families. In the past few days, Stern appeared at a memorial service in New Jersey and at a Sept. 11 school-curriculum awards ceremony in Washington and spoke at a conference on U.S.-Muslim relations in New York City. Friday night was a private ceremony with families in New Jersey.

Today, she will board a plane to North Carolina. There, she will go to the ocean alone and continue her private tradition to honor her husband, who loved to collect watches. She will throw one of his watches into the ocean. "He loved the water," she said.

Another victims' family group, September 11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, is suggesting that Americans write "letters of solidarity" to people around the world who have dealt with national tragedies. Japanese atomic bomb survivors. Afghans and Iraqis who have lost family and friends over the past three years. Families of those killed in the Madrid train bombings earlier this year.

"We didn't see Sept. 11 as a unique event only affecting Americans," said David Potorti, co-director of the organization, whose brother was Jim Potorti, Stern's husband. "It's the people of the world who can make the peace, not the politicians."

Locally, there will be events today like the Patriot Day Ceremony in Morgan Hill, "in remembrance of those lost, in celebration of the American spirit."

But for others, the day will be one of political questioning. Distance from the tragedy is allowing some to speak out against how it is being used in a way that wasn't socially permissible before.

Among the questioners will be Poets Against the War, a collection of scribes who created 13,000 mostly anti-war poems in response to the U.S. invasion of Iraq. They want today to be an international day of poetry; among the readings scheduled are some in Santa Cruz.

A collection of progressive speakers will gather at the College of Marin in Kentfield to address "9/11 as a symptom of a larger social, political and spiritual crisis." At San Francisco's United Nations Plaza, the parents of some U.S. soldiers stationed in Iraq will question the costs of the war.

But because Sept. 11 is not a national holiday, for many, the day will be nothing more than a Saturday in September. A day to be entertained.

At the Rawhide, a South of Market club, it will be "Stick Out Your Chest With Pride Day," where the first 20 patrons "of any gender" baring their chests at the door will get in free.

Comedian Jack Gallagher will do a show at the Cannery in San Francisco, the second time he's performed on Sept. 11. "I like being in a comedy club that day because you know that people are there to laugh," he said.

In Sonora (Tuolumne County), organizers of the International Jousting Competition had some reservations about holding their second annual event on Sept. 11. But it was an open date.

"You've got to show you're not down, you're not out," said the event's spokeswoman, Marti Miernik.

The competition will feature armored knights from seven countries doing battle on horseback. But first, there will be a moment of silence in honor of the Sept. 11 victims, and a rendition of taps. "And then," Miernik said, "people are going to go out and try to bash each other's heads in."

E-mail Joe Garofoli at jgarofoli@sfchronicle.com.
Link Posted: 9/11/2004 10:03:48 PM EST
I'll never to be able to move on...
Link Posted: 9/11/2004 10:21:54 PM EST
Link Posted: 9/11/2004 10:22:46 PM EST
Never, you need strong states like Cali because the rest of the US is a bunch of spineless morons...
Link Posted: 9/11/2004 10:27:02 PM EST

Originally Posted By Lumpy196:
So when is California going to break off and float away?



You really want some oceanfront property, huh?
Link Posted: 9/11/2004 10:29:35 PM EST
Link Posted: 9/11/2004 10:30:03 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/11/2004 10:30:44 PM EST by gaspain]



San Francisco Chronicle
Saturday, September 11, 2004

Joe Garofoli, Chronicle Staff Writer
E-mail Joe Garofoli at ----> jgarofoli@sfchronicle.com




I smell a fire mission coming on!!!
Link Posted: 9/11/2004 11:00:02 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/11/2004 11:00:15 PM EST by AZ-K9]

Originally Posted By John91498:
Never, you need strong states like Cali because the rest of the US is a bunch of spineless morons...


??
Link Posted: 9/11/2004 11:03:23 PM EST

Originally Posted By AZ-K9:

Originally Posted By John91498:
Never, you need strong states like Cali because the rest of the US is a bunch of spineless morons...


??



California is a bunch of fucking spineless morons. Present company excluded.
Link Posted: 9/11/2004 11:06:07 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/11/2004 11:06:22 PM EST by Lumpy196]
Link Posted: 9/11/2004 11:06:22 PM EST

Originally Posted By Combat_Jack:

Originally Posted By AZ-K9:

Originally Posted By John91498:
Never, you need strong states like Cali because the rest of the US is a bunch of spineless morons...


??



California is a bunch of fucking spineless morons. Present company excluded.



Really??? Why does the rest of the nation do our bidding??? Why do you fear us so badly??? Because your politicians are a bunch of spineless morons...
Link Posted: 9/12/2004 1:19:04 AM EST

Originally Posted By Moof:
A Day of Mourning, a Day of Moving On



Your fucking joking right? A day of moving on!!!!!!!!

You cannot 'move on' from something like this… the way they think it was some kind of auto wreck we are talking about here, not 3000 human beings massacred.

ANdy
Link Posted: 9/12/2004 1:30:58 AM EST

Originally Posted By John91498:

Originally Posted By Combat_Jack:

Originally Posted By AZ-K9:

Originally Posted By John91498:
Never, you need strong states like Cali because the rest of the US is a bunch of spineless morons...


??



California is a bunch of fucking spineless morons. Present company excluded.



Really??? Why does the rest of the nation do our bidding??? Why do you fear us so badly??? Because your politicians are a bunch of spineless morons...



Link Posted: 9/12/2004 5:16:43 AM EST
Nuking Falluja would be a good way for me to mourn. It would be theraputic, even.
I'd hold hands and sing Kumbaya after watching THAT on a big screen TV.
Link Posted: 9/12/2004 8:40:01 AM EST
Kalifornicators won't be talking that way if their city is attacked.

GunLvr
Link Posted: 9/12/2004 8:52:39 AM EST
I think they have a point about "moving on" with life. As long as that doesn't extend to the important thing of persecuting and killing Islamic terrorists everywhere on the globe and squeezing the states that support them. That's something we should never "get over" or "move on" from. And of course, the attacks of 9/11 should never be forgotten or forgiven. But that almost goes without saying.
Link Posted: 9/12/2004 2:24:08 PM EST

Originally Posted By vito113:

Originally Posted By Moof:
A Day of Mourning, a Day of Moving On



Your fucking joking right? A day of moving on!!!!!!!!



Nope, that was the actual headline.
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