Operation Enduring Boredom

Over at In These Times, Christopher Hayes has an amusing postmortem of last Sunday’s Freedom Walk:

    When the Pentagon announced it would be staging a march on September 11, 2005, to commemorate the victims of 9/11 and show support for the troops, it was hard not to expect the worst: Triumph of the Will on the Potomac.

    But after three of the dullest hours of my life, I’m happy to report those fears proved unfounded. …

    Which is not to say that things didn’t run smoothly. After several weeks on the defensive for its response to hurricane Katrina, it was refreshing to see the administration back on top of its game. At the Freedom Walk there was no confusion or chaos, no lines that led to nowhere or promises of buses that never came. Marchers arriving in the Pentagon Metro station were met by an army of volunteers in blue shirts, helpfully dispensing information and pointing which direction to go. There were police out in great numbers, and paramedics in bright red shirts on shiny new bikes, in case anyone needed medical assistance. With the sun blaring and the temperature flirting with 90, dehydration was a possibility, but before the march started and again at the one-mile mark, a dozen volunteers standing besides pallets of water eagerly dispersed bottles to the crowd. …

    Perhaps most striking about the march was that it awkwardly called attention to the diminishing returns of 9/11, the original fount of the White House’s political capital. What was once The Day That Changed Everything has become so sentimentalized that it is now, simply, A Sad Thing That Happened. When Rumsfield addressed the crowd, in between Clint Black ballads, he told them the last time he’d walked across Memorial Bridge was for the funeral of JFK Jr. The point, I guess, was that too was sad.

Rest here.