Hillary Clinton's Pneumonia Shouldn't Overshadow The 9/11 Anniversary

When news broke that Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton had left a Sept. 11 commemoration ceremony in New York early on Sunday, the public was understandably intrigued. However, as details and video of Clinton's departure began to emerge — culminating in her campaign admitting she'd been diagnosed with pneumonia on Friday — the headlines rapidly began piling up.

Suddenly, the media along with people on Twitter appeared more intent on talking about Clinton's health and unexpected exit than the event that had inspired her appearance in the first place — the 15-year anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

While attending the Sept. 11 commemoration ceremony in New York, Clinton left abruptly after an hour and a half. Initially, her campaign claimed the Democratic nominee had become overheated during the event. "Secretary Clinton attended the September 11th Commemoration Ceremony for just an hour and thirty minutes this morning to pay her respects and greet some of the families of the fallen," spokesman Nick Merrill said. "During the ceremony, she felt overheated, so [she] departed to go to her daughter's apartment and is feeling much better." Clinton's doctor later announced she had two days earlier diagnosed the Democratic nominee with pneumonia, which contributed to her feeling overheated.

They say there is a time and a place for everything, which means there's even a time for debate over whether Clinton, a 68-year-old woman, is suitably healthy enough for the White House. However, speculation over Clinton's health shouldn't overshadow the anniversary of 9/11.

When we speak of the coordinated terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Arlington it should be to remember the nearly 3,000 men and women we lost that day and to honor the ordinary citizens who stepped up to become heroes in the face of what had once been unimaginable tragedy. The attacks of 9/11 — or, consequently, memorials held to reflect on them — should not be reduced to a one-line mention within a story about something one could argue is still a non-issue.

I'm not claiming Clinton's diagnosis isn't newsworthy or that her abrupt exit from Sunday's commemoration ceremony wasn't something to note. But cutting away from your traditional anniversary coverage of the 9/11 attacks to discuss Clinton's seemingly shaky exit Sunday feels heartless, an insult to the victims, to the survivors, to those still mourning 15 years later.