September 11th and the persistence of memory


Dali, The Persistence of Memory

Somehow there’s been a shift in the public’s attitude toward 911. After marathon memorials last year, the tenth anniversary of the tragedy, including never-ending streams of documentaries and rehashing of old news footage we’ve all seen too many times, after all of that it seems 911 has receded into our memories. This year there is near radio silence on the anniversary that comes tomorrow. Most media are greeting the anniversary as just another day. I’m sure there will be the usual ceremonies and name readings at the site, but it doesn’t feel like past anniversaries; not at all.

Memory and the passage of time are strange things. The memories sag, they even change. This is nothing new and I don’t mean to offer a course on pop psychology 101, but it is fascinating to witness this sudden altering of consciousness. Maybe it’s a sign that America is growing up and moving on. Not that we shouldn’t remember the dead and the horror of that day, not that we shouldn’t memorialize them, but we shouldn’t wallow in them either. There really does come a time to move on and put things in perspective. This applies to all tragedies, of course. But this year marks a landmark for the US: it is the year 911 breast-beating finally settled down and Americans have decided there is no reason to keep it top of mind all the time. We will never forget the images of that day and all its repercussions, but we are finally seeing it for what it is, a calamity from which America needs to recover and get on with life.

______________

Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.

The Discussion: 7 Comments

The front page of today’s NY Times has no mention at all of September 11. A new era.

September 11, 2012 @ 11:28 pm | Comment

Yeah, I checked the BBC and the Guardian this morning after reading this post. No mention.

September 12, 2012 @ 2:50 am | Comment

BBC World servbice mentioned the minutes silence by the survivors of 11/9. Also mentioned it was 11 years ago which means I have been out of the UK for a decade – gosh, time flies….

September 12, 2012 @ 5:43 am | Comment

I am reading this posting on September 18 and it occurs to me that a lot of people remember September 11 quite well, in particular those folks throughout the Moslem world who would like to replicate it in spades.

September 18, 2012 @ 9:22 pm | Comment

Media and politicians cannot lie with a straight face anymore. 911 was an inside job.

September 29, 2012 @ 7:42 pm | Comment

No. Actually, with every year that passes, the total lack of evidence of any US government conspiracy surrounding the attacks means that fringe lunatics such as yourself look more and more silly.

October 1, 2012 @ 3:26 pm | Comment

Methinks you’re talking to a revolutionary spambot, Foarp.

October 1, 2012 @ 6:14 pm | Comment

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.