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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Monday Sept. 11 marks the twenty second anniversary of the brutal terrorist assaults of 9/11. 22 years is about as outdated as I’m, and years past the latest Cornellians within the class of 2027.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 into extra confined to “feeds” of the assorted on-line areas we inhabit. This yr, 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 “completely satisfied 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 pale nationwide reminiscence whereas plainly my era desperately tries to maneuver on. Someplace alongside the road and caught between these conflicting views, our reminiscence of 9/11’s true significance turned a sufferer. 

Regardless of what the clock that pushes every of us nearer to commencement could say, time because it pertains to historical past shouldn’t be linear. As is the case with 9/11, occasions of the previous turn into 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. Taking a look at that marble plaque final yr, 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 by the years and really shortly dispel any notion that 9/11 exists prior to now.