Today is the eleventh anniversary of an event we cannot and should not ever forget: September 11.
To remember those lost in the attacks in New York, Duke Democrats and Duke College Republicans jointly painted the East Campus Bridge. We hope that our visual reminder will move students and others on campus—although they may be busy, tired and stressed—to think just for a minute about what was destroyed that day, and how it changed all of us.
The strange thing about remembering September 11, I think, is that it’s something Americans—and people anywhere in the world, for that matter—do collectively through ceremonies, telling stories, or even just watching the news together as broadcasters list names of the deceased. But remembering 9/11 is also highly personal. I remember exactly what I was doing when I first heard about the attacks, and I recall every detail of the thoughts that ran through my head, even though I was only 10 years old at the time. That acute remembrance seems to be the norm. I think all the friends and acquaintances I’ve ever discussed 9/11 with also clearly remember the moment when they heard about the towers falling—even if many would like to forget.
The ten-year anniversary commemoration, which happened last year, was also a big event for many. I was studying abroad in Italy at the time, but one of my roommates and I watched the coverage online. It was a strange sensation: being so far from home, but feeling, at least for that one day, so tied to my home country and so American. It was especially moving to watch it with my roommate, who is a student at Columbia University. Even though he wasn’t in New York in 2001, he considers the city to be his home.
Like the East Campus Bridge, I hope this blog post will help you take a moment out of your day to think about 9/11, to reflect. Please feel free, also, to share your memories in comments below.