Since the age of photography, the number of images that garner such a great emotional response that they result in a major policy action are very few. These are the images that stay in our minds, the photos that tear at our souls.
Often, they involve war or violence such as the planes hitting the World Trade Center; the battleships sinking at Pearl Harbor or the Kent State student in anguish over the body of a fellow student killed by the National Guard. You do not have to have been from the era of the photo to appreciate the meaning or to understand the effect the picture had on the country and how it responded. These pictures elicit an emotional response even today.
The picture represents an event that carried great weight in our national consciousness and as such becomes a constant reminder in our crusade to “Never Forget.” These images are few and far between.
The beheading of James Foley by ISIS is one of those images. Shown mostly as a still, but captured as a full video, it is an image that has been burnt into the national consciousness. It is an image that will probably do more to cause an American military re-entry into the Middle East then all the rhetoric and previous mass killings combined.
Immediately after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the commanding Japanese admiral was quoted as telling his officers, “We have awoken a sleeping giant.” Although I am not certain if President Obama has come out of his coma when it comes to this part of the world, I do believe the American people have been awakened. And it is safe to assume that government policy will eventually catch up with American sentiment and concerns.
ISIS, in murdering James Foley, took a life, but in doing so may have done more to unite a world against its radical movement than any single recent action. Maybe, in this way, his poor family can take some solace.
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State Senator Marty Golden, whom I serve as chief of staff, will be holding his annual 9/11 remembrance event on the Veterans Memorial Pier (69th Street Pier) beginning at 7:30 p.m.
During the attack, thousands of local residents came down to the pier to witness the World Trade Center devastation.
Since then, each year, the senator has organized an event that includes patriotic music, special readings, a few speeches, a moment of silence and a candlelight vigil as well the release of balloons in tribute.
The pier is also the location of Brooklyn’s 9/11 Memorial.
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One more reminder. Next Tuesday, September 9, is Primary Day. There are several Democratic primaries including the ones for governor and lieutenant governor. There is a Republican Party primary for State Assembly in the 46th Assembly District (parts of Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights) between Lucretia Regina-Potter and Stamatis Lilikakis, who is endorsed by State Senator Marty Golden and the Conservative Party. There is also an Independence Party primary between the incumbent Assemblymember, Alec Brook-Krasny, and Lilikakis.
The League of Women Voters says if, “You do not vote, you do not count.” Make sure you count. If you are eligible to vote in one of these primaries, please do.