Thursday, April 15, 2010

9/11 in the News Today

9/11, terrorism, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are very prevalent news pieces, but recently several domestic news stories regarding 9/11 have gotten much attention, particularly in the NY media. Emergency responders and those who worked at Ground Zero on the day of the attacks still do not have the government's financial support to cover their medical costs(scroll down on webpage to the second article), a court settlement with 10,000 9/11 workers is being held up, and Ground Zero has yet to be rebuilt because of disagreement over who should foot the bill.

Many of the readings we did spoke about the importance of unity and overcoming the horrors of 9/11 yet here we are in April of 2010 and still have not been able to rebuild the land nor properly compensate the heros and pay for their medical costs.


  1. Wow, was not aware of some of these issues. It's a shame they haven't been worked out. Did we portray a false-unity or are we just quick to forget?

  2. I don't think the unity initially portrayed was false, but I do think that the political reactions and complications to any disaster, particularly a terrorist attack, are everlasting and just so difficult.

    What I'm trying to say is that socially and culturally and from my own experience, our immediate reactions to 9/11 were agnostic. Even if one tried to draw out feelings from another person, it was nearly impossible. Notions of Unity, coming together as one, etc was a quick fix in helping people figures out what exactly is going on. Personally, I don’t think the “united we stand” posters were put up with a political statement in mind, such as “look terrorists, we are united” or “we, the American people, are in full support of our government and our constitution”…at least I didn’t think about that when I put an American flag poster in my family’s window during the week after 9/11.

    I remember the NY Times sent out that insert with one full page having a print out the American flag. I asked my parents if I could put it in our window and they said yes. When I did, I looked up to see that exact same American Flag insert posted up in a handful of other windows in the apartment building next to ours. Anyone else who walked around would see the American Flags or posters with "United We Stand" in shop windows, on car bumper stickers, on t-shirts, absolutely everywhere. If facebook existed, I’m sure everyone would’ve had these images as their “default pictures.” These inserts and posters, were not going to cause world peace or answer anyone's questions, but they were symbols of hope and recognition.

    The unity we portrayed 10 years ago is not the same unity we all still hold today, not was it unity in a sense that we all have the same political views. It is also unity that difficult to describe as false because we don’t have any other situation to compare it to. People have had time to process 9/11, whether finding an answer to their initial uncertainties or not. 10 years is a long time and with help from the media, we are bound to “move on.” But it is difficult to explain how exactly politics, such as issues explained in the articles above, or even in the articles written by literary scholars only 11 days after the attacks, can define a unified reaction to 9/11.

    Now, one doesn't necessarily look at the American flag and think "9/11" but if one sees "NYPD" on a tshirt, they might. There is what seems to be an ongoing list of the effects of 9/11 (even a new literary movement) but whether one thinks of 9/11 as America’s rude awakening and chance for literary critics to beat up on the American political system or a chance for America to come together in some type of unified form, it is interesting how it took an event, so destructive and epic, for these questions to be asked and voices to be heard.

  3. And, as Merrill encourages us to do, we should continue to keep the term representation in play. What were all of those posters, stickers, magnets that were manufactured in the wake of 9/11 supposed to represent? How, at the end of the day, do we represent national unity? Is that even possible?