Today marks the fourteenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, Pentagon and attempted attack on the Capitol or White House. This attack remains the deadliest terrorist attack on American soil in our history and is remembered each year by countless specials and recounting of the coverage of that fateful day.
But is that too much?
At what point does our remembrance actually hinder us from moving on? When does the constant replay of news coverage stop being useful and start hurting our ability to absorb this as an event into our national memory? For the fourteenth year in a row, when I turned on the news, I relived those attacks, and it rekindled the same fear, angst and anxiety I felt as a sixth grader watching in confusion at the news and not my normal morning cartoons. And not for the first time, I have asked myself if this was the best way to remember the lives lost the heroes sacrificed and the damage done. I am not so sure.
Without a doubt, 9/11 needs to be remembered. But it needs to be remembered in such a way that honors the loss, accepts the tragedy and trauma of that day, yet places it firmly in a historical context that serves to educate Americans and not simply to just reopen the wounds we spent the last 364 days closing.
As engrained as the events of that day are in the American psyche and have proven to be a seminole moment in the American millennial experience (in the same way that the assassination of JFK is a seminole moment for that generation) we have arrived at a time that many of our Junior High students and some High School students were not witnesses to these attacks.For their sake and ours we should move away from the retraumatization of these events.
Reliving these events does nothing but renew our anger, relive the fear, agony and loss of that day and stifles any chance we have as a nation to put this horrific event in our rear view mirror. In fourteen years the country can change immensely; our citizenry can change, our foreign policy can change; our politics can change. Yet we still hold on to this event.
In my view, it would be a a lot healthier for us as a nation to shift from reliving this event to commemorating this event. In my mind this means stopping the non-stop news-like coverage of the event. If we are to show specials, let them reflect on the event; showing what happened but also placing these events in a historical context. Let us remember these events, commemorate them, but not slog through them. The media should cover current events, hearken back to 9/11 when appropriate and provide context when applicable.
the events of 9/11 are an indelible mark upon our country, but how we deal with ithis event determines if this becomes a scar or festering wound; something traumatic but healable or something from which we will never recover. Our resilience both as Americans and humans leads me to believe the former and reject the latter.