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BEARD | 9/11 and the Obligation of Reminiscence

Monday Sept. 11 marks the twenty second anniversary of the brutal terrorist assaults of 9/11. 22 years is about as outdated as I’m, and years past the most recent Cornellians within the class of 2027. But, regardless of the march of time, the annual ritual begins anew each September eleventh. The social media posts go-up, and are available September twelfth, we transfer on with our lives.

Over the course of my lifetime, this ritualized act of remembrance has more and more turn out to be extra confined to “feeds” of the varied on-line areas we inhabit. This 12 months, our reminiscence of 9/11 ran the gambit of Instagram graphics emblazoned with numerous hashtag equivalents of “Lest We Overlook” to college students cracking insensitive jokes of “pleased 9/11.” No matter perverse social media model, there’s the commonality of our persistence in remembrance. On the similar time, nevertheless, why keep in mind in any respect if reminiscence itself consists of hole hashtags and “memes.”’ Because the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan born of that September morning 22 years in the past come to the shut, and generations of scholars enter maturity more and more unaware of 9/11’s penalties, we discover our establishments clinging to a light nationwide reminiscence whereas plainly my technology desperately tries to maneuver on. Someplace alongside the road and caught between these conflicting views, our reminiscence of 9/11’s true significance grew to become a sufferer. 

Regardless of what the clock that pushes every of us nearer to commencement could say, time because it pertains to historical past is just not linear. As is the case with 9/11, occasions of the previous turn out to be etched in our reminiscence and recur with disregard for the shackles of time. Only a few years in the past, Cornell unveiled a memorial to 21 of our College’s alumni who perished within the towers in 2001. that marble plaque final 12 months, I used to be struck by the permanence with which every of these names exists, the energy of the voices with which they name out to you right here within the current. The names of these 21 Cornellians and their commencement years attain via the years and really shortly dispel any notion that 9/11 exists previously.