Skies Moody and Dark

Hosted by

For KCRW, I'm Nick Madigan of The Baltimore Sun with Minding the Media.

It's been just six years since the dazzling September morning when hijacked airliners smashed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania.

In some ways, the U.S., mired in war in a country that had no role in the attacks, has only barely begun to recover.

This morning, at the annual remembrance of 9/11 in New York, the Brooklyn Youth Chorus sang The Star-Spangled Banner, their voices "sounding like angels as mourners held aloft photos of people who, to them, are angels now, too," Cara Buckley wrote on the website of The New York Times.

"Afterward, the drummer for the New York Police Department marching band sounded a mournful heartbeat, and then the bagpipers began. At 8:46am, the moment the first plane struck the North Tower, a bell was sounded, as it has for six years now, and the gathered masses bowed their heads."

For the first time since 2001, September 11 fell on a Tuesday, "the same day the planes flew into the buildings and changed everything," Buckley wrote. "Unlike the awful, brilliant day of the attacks, this year's skies were moody and dark, alternately threatening and delivering rain."

Amy Westfeldt of the Associated Press wrote that on this anniversary, presidential politics and the health of ground zero workers loomed large.

The firefighters and first responders who rushed to the scene that day in 2001 and later recovered the dead, Westfeldt wrote, are now ill with respiratory problems and cancers themselves, and they blame the illnesses on exposure to toxic dust.

This year, rescuers were asked for the first time to read the names of the almost 3,000 victims.

"Firefighters shared the platform with former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who many victims' families and firefighters said shouldn't speak at the service to keep from politicizing it," Westfeldt wrote.

But Giuliani has been riding the 9/11 train ever since the attacks, and hopes to take it all the way to the White House.

Joe Strupp, in the trade paper Editor & Publisher, wrote today that 9/11 was still front front-page news this morning for New York's three major tabloids. But the Daily News appears to be the only New York daily to publish the names of all the dead. They filled four pages.

Diane Cardwell, in today's New York Times, wrote that since taking over as mayor in 2002, Michael Bloomberg has gently nudged New Yorkers to gradually shed their grief.

"It is a challenge the mayor has handled sometimes clumsily and sometimes with great sensitivity and eloquence," she wrote. "Now, as he works to imbue the city with optimism for the future, he even hints at a day when remembering may not mean reading the names of all the dead."

An editorial in today's Los Angeles Times says that in the six years since 9/11, "We can point to one significant achievement: We have avoided another attack on American soil. Given the ferocity and cunning of Al Qaeda, that is no small feat."

"By contrast, the decision to invade Iraq has proved... a distraction from the struggle against radical Islamist terrorism, and it has cost us dearly," the editorial says. "More than 3,700 American soldiers have lost their lives on foreign sands. Another 27,000 have returned home with injuries, many of them life-altering. Tens of thousands of Iraqis have been killed or wounded and about 4 million forced to flee."

The editorial says that no matter how much President Bush insists otherwise, this war "has not only subverted U.S. military interests but has undermined the liberties that make this a nation worthy of emulation. That is the tragic and true cost of these past six years."

This is Nick Madigan of The Baltimore Sun, Minding the Media on KCRW.

The color guard holds the 'WTC Flag' at a ceremony at Zuccotti Park commemorating the 911 terrorist attacks September 11, 2007 in New York City.

Photo: Frank Franklin II-Pool/Getty Images



Nick Madigan