Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Opinion: 11th anniversary of 9/11 attacks is too quiet
Big memorials commemorated the 10th anniversary, and the important date isn't getting the attention it deserves this year, on the 11th anniversary.
This time last year, as the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center approached, the UNT campus was transformed into a living memorial. Tribute lights representing the twin towers destroyed in the attacks were beamed into the sky on the Library Mall for a week, former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates spoke to students about national security, and a candlelight vigil ceremony was held in memory of those who died both in the attacks and during the war that followed.
The event was a tasteful recognition of sacrifice and the need to move forward after such a great tragedy, but it seems that the university and its students have taken the second theme a bit too literally.
It’s been a year since this week of remembrance, and already we face a deafening silence. A quick glance at the university’s official calendar reveals exactly zero commemorative events honoring the 11th anniversary of the attacks. Admittedly, there are several memorials taking place around the Dallas area today, but the University of North Texas seems blissfully unaware in contrast.
It’s obvious that the 10th anniversary is an important commemorative date, but does this really mean we should ignore the 11th? How about the 12th? Are we supposed to only commemorate those lost in this horrific tragedy every 10 years?
You would be lucky to find an individual willing to defend the notion that a small yearly remembrance of this life-changing event is too much to ask of either the university or its student body, many of whom still remember these attacks firsthand.
It’s certainly true that we can reflect on the lives lost through personal introspection, but it is far more powerful to gather together, particularly when we commemorate the great triumphs of humanity in the face of this disaster.
Some argue that by remembering this tragedy every year, we are putting too much power in the hands of those who brought about these attacks in the first place. However, it is not the terror and violence that took place 11 years ago that we commemorate but instead the memory of the individuals who refused to panic or surrender even in the face of fear – and death.
The selfless New Yorkers who sacrificed their safety – and a few, their lives – to lead others out of the crippled towers and towards rescue are a standing refutation to those who doubt the power of basic human altruism, and ignoring their sacrifices only a year after recognizing them so fully is simply unacceptable.
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