Kasper wrote:On the contrary, context counts for all in this instance, and the present context is the commemoration of those who died on 9/11.
One would be hardpressed to find a worthy line in a roman poem about an airplane crashing into a skyscraper. The criticism in the article seems to be typical of those academics whose sole aim is to make some display of their "useless, and pointless, knowledge" (to use another quote).
I agree that it's hard to find an adequate quote, and that this is largely a classicist's pet peeve. However, if we're only concerned with the present context, I don't see a need to quote anything. Why do we need to take a line from a Roman poet? Why not just invent a new sentence for the occasion? They could have a submission contest for New York poets, or something like that.
I think quoting a canonical literary work is an attempt to create a sense of culture and elevation, so you leave yourself open to literary scrutiny if you go down this road. Plus, you leave yourself vulnerable to academic types with nothing better to do. Creating a new statement seems to get around this.