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By Jeremy Schiffres, Daily and Sunday Freeman, Kingston, N.Y.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Time to move on

Like a lot of Americans, I watched TV yesterday, the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks. And I've gotta say: Enough already.

I have no problem with news coverage of memorial ceremonies or interviews with survivors, emergency workers, government leaders and people who lost loved ones. But there is no redeeming value — none — in showing, again and again and again, the planes hitting the two towers of the World Trade Center, the towers coming down, a large section of a wall at the Pentagon collapsing or that field in Shanksville, Pa., smoldering after the crash of United Airlines Flight 93.

It's been 10 years already. We all know what happened that day. We know how many people died. We know how awful it was and how gut-wrenching it felt. We remember. We don't need to see it.

And before anyone makes the argument that it's important to keep rebroadcasting the horrible images so that subsequent generations remember the devastation of 9/11, ask yourself this: Do we need to see the footage of a bullet shattering part of President Kennedy's head to remember he was assassinated? Do we need to see security camera videos of the massacre at Columbine High School to know two deranged teenagers carried out a slaughter of their classmates? Do we need to see pictures or newsreel of Nazis murdering millions of Jews to know the Holocaust occurred? No, on all three counts.

9/11 happened. It was terrible — perhaps the darkest day ever for the United States. But it's the magnitude of the event and its lasting impact on our collective psyche, not archival images of the attacks, that have forever cemented that day in our minds and in our history.



Blogger Bill Olsen said...

I just came across this posting and my response to it is a bit late, but I will send it anyway. The various attacks of September 11, 2001, yes we have seen much of in the form of media engagement with numbing relentlessness. It may be interesting to note this, though with comparisons to Pearl Harbor, the Civil War, and, I believe, the Korean conflict.
We have well developed and thorough accountings of the Pearl Harbor attack and the Civil War. If we were to ask any American what happened then and what it means in the context of our history, we will get at least a basic response as to why these events occurred and what they mean to our country.
When it comes to an event less present in our historical memory, such as the Korean War, we come across a strange phenomenon. This was a brutal conflict that ruined the lives of millions of people. As late as 1992, some historians, though, were calling this the “forgotten war.” This is perhaps slowly starting to change in some visible ways, but the difference between our remembrance of Pearl Harbor and the Civil War on one hand, and the Korean conflict on the other seem vividly clear to me. There simply was no record of Korea that in any way compares to those of the other events.
September 11th 2001 will bind with our historical memory in ways we can’t predict at this point. Time will ensure that this memory is clear, no matter what sense our country chooses to make of it. And this is due to the massive record that exists of this event. As a former history student, I don’t mind that one bit. So many people still have never come to terms with this and having to click a remote because one chooses not to see it is a small price, I believe.

September 19, 2011 at 9:27 AM 

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