Going forward, should 9-11 be seen as memories or as history?

  

Category:  Op/Ed

By:  john-russell  •  one month ago  •  7 comments

Going forward, should 9-11 be seen as memories or as history?

Some might see this as a touchy subject. That is not my intention. 



I was watching the ABC coverage of the 9-11 commemoration from NYC Saturday morning, and one their correspondents Pierre Thomas was talking about the importance of the day. I dont recall his exact words but what he was getting at was that the 20th anniversary meant the Sept 11 , 2001 events were starting to leave the realm of "memory" for the nation and beginning to enter the realm of "history". He also said that many of the families of the 9-11 victims were apprehensive about this sort of unofficial change and that was one of the reasons they continued to ask for the reading of the names of every victim, a process that takes many hours.  (Joe Biden drew a little flak from the right because he left during the reading of the names (he was going to the 9-11 site in Pennsylvania.) )

I wonder what draws the line between national memory and history?  20 years , 30? 50?

I am fairly sure the nation did not hold huge commemorations of Pearl Harbor on Dec 7 1961, although there are major differences between a military attack (although 68 civilians were killed in Hawaii) and a sneak terrorist attack , and Pearl Harbor was resolved in a 3 1/2 year war with the Japanese empire, with the US completely victorious.  I dont think we ever achieved that kind of closure as regards 9-11. 

About a third of Americans now were either not born yet or were too young 20 years ago to remember anything about it. 

People cling to their most vivid memories, hopefully happy ones but sometimes the sad ones too. But for a nation, when do memories transition into history?


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JohnRussell
Professor Principal
1  author  JohnRussell    one month ago

I have a feeling this past Saturday will be the last 9-11 anniversary commemorated (nationally)  in quite this way. 

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
2  Kavika     one month ago

There are still remembrances for Pearl Harbor, although less each passing year. As the number of survivors of the attack and those that actually remember Pearl Harbor decreases sometime in the near future it will only be a memory for some and a history lesson for others.

I see 9/11 the same way. 

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
2.1  author  JohnRussell  replied to  Kavika @2    one month ago

I dont totally disagree with you, but Pearl Harbor has been more history than memory (except for individuals who were there) for many decades now. 

 
 
 
Dismayed Patriot
Professor Participates
3  Dismayed Patriot    one month ago
Should 9-11 Be Seen As Memories Or As History?

I think it's memories who remember it happening, history for those who were too young to remember or were born after it happened. One thing I know for sure though, no patriot who loves this country would ever erect monuments and memorials to or of those who attacked us, no six story bronze statues of Osama Bin Laden, no flying of Al Qaeda flag's, just because we want to remember 9/11.

But for a nation, when do memories transition into history?

I think you may have already answered that, it's when those who remember it are no longer with us. Though I would also say that the effects of 9/11 on those who were too young to remember and those born after are very real, they grew up in a different world, just like those who were born after WWII and the first use of nuclear weapons. While now that is mostly history to us we all still live with the effects and changes that society had to make in the wake of it in order to survive. I remember duck and cover drills in school, now my daughters have school shooter drills. American society has forever been changed by 9/11 just like it has now forever been changed by Covid. So I'm not sure if it's important to decipher between what is a memory and what is history, the effects are still recognizable and material.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
3.1  author  JohnRussell  replied to  Dismayed Patriot @3    one month ago
So I'm not sure if it's important to decipher between what is a memory and what is history, the effects are still recognizable and material.

I think the most observable difference between memory and history would be how and to what extent the media covers it. 

 
 
 
Jeremy Retired in NC
Senior Participates
4  Jeremy Retired in NC    one month ago

Both.  It's important to remember the innocent people killed on those 4 flights and in the Pentagon and WTC.  It is also just as important to remember the First Responders and military that stepped up amidst the confusion.

No matter the opinion of anybody, it is our history.  There is nothing we can (or should do) to erase that.  It should be discussed (among a wide variety of other things) to ensure we do everything possible to not allow something like this to happen again.

 
 
 
MonsterMash
Sophomore Participates
5  MonsterMash    one month ago

If you're old enough to remember a significant event it's a memory, if not it's history.

 
 
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