Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz used his Sept. 11 press briefing to compare those who are living under COVID-19 health mandates, to Americans who responded to the devastating 9/11 terrorist attacks that resulted in the death of almost 3,000 Americans. He said that day should be an example to Anchorage citizens on how to respond to emergencies.
The mayor began by praising the “heroism” of first responders on 9/11, but then attempted to compare them to those dealing with COVID-19.
“First responders are always on the job, whether they are responding to the events in the Twin Towers or the massive fires that are across the west right now or here in Anchorage dealing with the pandemic,” he said. “And so, this is a moment for us to say thank you.”
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The mayor then mentioned a small gathering later in the day to honor Anchorage firefighters.
“It will be a brief ceremony,” he said. “Normally this is an event that has a large gathering but because of COVID that is not the case today.”
Just four days prior, however, the mayor took part in a large Black Lives Matter protest in downtown Anchorage.
Berkowitz then invited his chief medical officer, Dr. Bruce Chandler, to give an extended reflection comparing Anchorage’s response to stranded airport travelers on 9/11 to those citizens who have adhered to the mayor’s emergency COVID mandates.
“Thank you Dr. Chandler, and thank you for reminding us that on 9/11 people did pull together and made a huge difference, and that’s the way to respond to an emergency,” Berkowitz said.
At the end of the briefing, the mayor made a final comparison to 9/11 and the need for Anchorage residents to draw on the same resolve in dealing with COVID.
“We also need to draw on our inner strength, here,” he said. “And on a day like today – 9/11 – we know that there is incredible strength in this community, not just in Anchorage but across Alaska and across this country. And when we do things in a united way, when we find that strength that we can get from one another, we can overcome most challenges.”
These words are very similar to statements the mayor has made repeatedly when criticizing local residents who disagree with his emergency orders.