Stomaching 9/11: once is enough for graphic gore
Published: Thursday, September 8, 2011
Updated: Thursday, September 8, 2011 15:09
Journalism 101 (or rather Communications 320 as it is taught here at UTM) teaches writers to use event anniversaries as a go-to subject when brainstorming sessions are more like drizzles.
And who doesn't enjoy a good look back? The VH1 network found huge success with the "I Love the '80s" & "'90s" series, and everyone knows the best part of using a daily planner is to see the "Today in history ..." daily factoids. Further, take a look at Suzie Q's Facebook page featuring 348 photo albums so wittily named after song lyrics. We're obsessed with our pasts and are nostalgic by our very nature.
And there is nothing wrong with that.
But there does come a time when you can focus too much on the past and in turn, lose sight of your future — and in the most dramatic of cases — even your present.
Now I trod delicately forward to my point: Sept. 11, 2001.
As the 10-year anniversary draws closer, we are again reminded of the horrors our nation endured that Tuesday morning. From fliers to footage and commercials to conventions, I've been ensnared in a well-intended web of patriotic propaganda forcing me (literally) to remember, and never forget.
But what if I wanted to?
Maybe I cringe looking at the footage. Watching men and women plunge to their deaths does not instill a wrath in me — rather, a physical and emotional sickness. I don't feel a surge of pride when I glimpse at the television just in time to see the second plane crash — rather, I feel a sadness and sense of helplessness.
These images are being re-visited again and again for a reason, and I know why. So I won't forget, so I'll always remember.
But I personally cannot fathom how watching the tragedy unfold incessantly will benefit me. Videos capturing the collapse and the casualties have earned millions of views on YouTube (as of yesterday, 23, 147, 038 was the highest count of a 9/11 video). I cannot help but ask, why?
Unless merely your youth at the time spared you from recalling the attacks, how could anyone forget? Who needs to be reminded? I cannot speak for anyone but myself, but the imagery is embedded in my memory clearer than the day I graduated from high school.
I assure you, like most Americans I thirsted for vindication. I still wear my flag ribbon.
I do not, however, subject myself to reliving that day. I choose instead to look at today and hope for the future.
This does not mean I am not a patriot. This does not mean I will ever forget.
My parents served in the Army, as did theirs and as my younger sister will do soon. My older sister serves in the Air Force, as do many other members of my family and my close friends. My best friend is a firefighter and an EMT. Through them, I know what it means to serve your community and your country.
The Holocaust survivors need not be reminded of their injustice. World War Two soldiers were not bombarded with Pearl Harbor news reels each and every day just in case they needed a reminder as to why they were fighting.
To the media, I implore you: I do not need to be reminded.
It happened, and it hurt. A lot. We need not rehash the wound. Even fully healed, America will forever have the scars. Reminder enough.