After a decade of commemorating the tragic attacks on September 11th, 2001, the nation is, again, somberly reunited to honor the lives of those lost from the horrific act of terrorism. This year, however, elected officials’ statements are silenced at the New York ceremony, allowing only the names of the victims to be read out loud by their relatives. Sidelining the politicians, however, has made me consider the politics even more so than before.
There are two connotations associated with today’s date. September 11th insinuates immeasurable personal loss, empathy, and national unity. At the same time, however, we have unintentionally fostered an association with the remaining pieces of the puzzle- the officeholders who express the utmost sensitivity yet still hint at political leverage, the analysts who interpret our future cultural trajectory, the simplified binary explanation of a world being good and evil. In shorthand, we know this to be 9/11.
Through this idea of removing politicians from the spotlight, the nation is invited to take a step back and regain a little moral clarity to the events that took place 11 years ago. Nearly 3,000 lives were lost that day. Once our initial shock subsided, we went on with our lives, touched yet untouched. I neither lost a loved one in the attack, nor did I know anyone who did. To this day I remain separated from the heart of the tragedy. However, I cannot dispute my internal struggle with interpreting why I feel so connected to the attack; perhaps I never will understand.
I do believe, though, that meditating on the issue this morning has brought me a little closer to my notion of an “ideal America.” The blunt manipulation of the words and ideas of public officials from both parties throughout the media gives me the impression that our nation is headed down an eternal road of civil conflict. Now, more than ever, we need put our differences aside and recognize who we are as a united people. When night shifts to morning and we wake up tomorrow on September 12th, the heavy connotation of the date will be lifted off our minds. However, we can choose to honor what our country, as well as our countrymen, stand for.
By: Tanya Rogovyk
(Photo by laverrue under a Creative Commons license)