As much as I hate to get into semantics about a national tragedy, I have to deviate from the sports content of my blog for one post to address a piece of fallout from last week's terror bombings in London.
It was no less wrong than what happened on this side of Atlantic on Sept. 11, 2001. The nature of the perpetrators is no less evil. But I dislike this national media attempt to brand what happened as "Britain's 9/11."
Don't call it "7/7."
Sept. 11, 2001 is on the level of Dec. 7, 1941 as a day that affected the conscience of the Western world, the U.S. and Britain included equally. While last week's attacks moved those of us stateside to sorrow, if only because we have been there as a nation, it didn't affect us the way the attacks of 9/11 affected people on both sides of the Atlantic. Two of the tallest buildings in the world fell that day. The headquarters of the most powerful military in the world was hit. Four civilian airliners were hijacked and used as missiles.
Sept. 11, 2001 is called "9/11" because we have no other way to digest the horrors of that day into one term. Targets in two cities, 300 miles apart, were hit.
What happened in London last week was on the level of the train bombings that occurred in Madrid last year. Those bombings were referred to as "Spain's 9/11" when they happened, but no one I know of is going out of their way to refer to it with a date reference. Nobody I have seen or heard is mentioning Spain's tragedy much anymore, period.
In trying to forever brand July 7 as a date of darkness, we forget London has been through far worse. Londoners witnessed numerous Irish Republican Army bombings in the 20th Century. London was also the subject of regular air raids from Nazi warplanes. In the true British fashion of handling adversity with a dash of humor, they condensed three years of torment and destruction into one phrase: "The Blitz."
London had a dark day on July 7, but far from their worst. Ask many Londoners, and they'll confirm it.
September 11 is going to be forever linked to catastrophe. If your birthday is 9/11, you probably can't utter it without being reminded about what happened on that day in 2001.
Let's spare July 7 that same fate. It's not deserved.