Sunday, 21 April 2013

Words and Phrases - a Continuing Series

I just heard a man on the radio say that the failure of the Apollo 13 mission was "a September 11 moment for America".

No, it wasn't. Leaving aside the fact that, as far as I can remember, no-one lost their life in Apollo 13, there is no such thing as "a September 11 moment", except September 11 itself. Nothing comes close to it. It is no good trying to appropriate it. The enormity of the crime that was perpetrated on that day is approached by nothing in recent times. Not even the recent act of terrorism in Boston can be classed as "a September 11 moment".

I do hope this usage doesn't spread.


  1. Odd. Of course I remember where I was on September 11, 2001. I remember where I was when John F. Kennedy was shot. But I could not name the year when Apollo 13 encountered difficulties.

    I should have thought that the fire that killed three astronauts during the preparation for Apollo 1 created more doubts than Apollo 13 did.

    1. It seemed to me to be a case of making links where there are none, trying to neatly tidy everything dreadful into a box marked 'dreadful' - or possibly, worse still, it was an attempt to make a rather dreary point more interesting by linking it to 'nine/eleven'