Our country has always been good at memorials, Gettysburg National Cemetary for example. Pearl Harbor and the beautiful eternal Arizona Memorial.
This week was spent remembering 9-11 with media events, personal recollections, and the unsettling memory (for me) that Friday was *exactly* the same sort of day it was eight years ago: bright blue sky, blinding sunlight, crisp fall air.
I wonder how different things would be if our country was half as good at preventing death as we are at memorializing it.
3,000 people died in the 9-11 attacks.
Every two months, 3,000 people die in America because they are denied insurance.
Sixty days from now, the equivalent of another 9-11 attack will kill another 3,000 Americans.
Another sixty days later, another 3,000 will have died.
And so on.
To the tune of 18,000 Americans a year, dying not from terrorist attacks, or disaster, hurricanes, heat waves, earthquakes or floods - but just from not having insurance.
18,000 American sons, daughters, husbands, wives, babies, grandmothers, grandfathers.
What if 18,000 troops were killed tomorrow in Afghanistan? Or 18,000 died in a horrible attack on one of our cities? The public would rise up and demand payback.
Why in the world are we so accepting of this month's health dead, and next month's health dead, and the next month, and the next month, and the next month and the next month.......?
**Figures courtesy of National Academy of Sciences, via Nicholas Kristof http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/13/opinion/13kristof.html?_r=1&th&emc=th