The 11th anniversary of the worst terrorist attacks on American soil should be a solemn occasion devoted entirely to the victims — not to self-promoting elected officials. So the decision by the National 9/11 Memorial and Museum Committee to keep politicians out of the upcoming commemoration is an important step for family members, as well as the nation. The event where the Twin Towers used to stand will be devoid of any political speeches — or even politicians, for that matter. This example should be followed throughout the nation, including here in Boston, where two of the planes took off that fateful morning.
The change comes in response to a continuing struggle over who owns and who should lead the memorial site. The 9/11 Memorial Committee, whose board is chaired by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, is in a continuing battle with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo over spending and priorities. Making matters worse, every commemoration since the first anniversary has involved prominent roles for politicians — and behind-the-scenes jockeying over speaking slots. This is unseemly at an event to mourn the dead.
Fortunately, the excess of drama finally led the committee to announce that this year’s commemoration would be “free of politics.” After more than a decade of war in the name of 9/11, it is no easy feat to separate politics and terrorism. But it is time.