In a similar way, I think 9/11 affected people in many different ways. Those who literally experienced it firsthand have vivid memories, like those who directly connect to a piece of art. However, even people like myself who had never even seen the towers, much less know someone affected by it, will not directly connect. Nevertheless, they will still respect the highly emotional nature of the tragedy (or piece of art).
Therefore, I somewhat disagree with Rieff’s assertion that 9/11 will be forgotten as memories fade. The event might resonate differently to different individuals, but the powerful sentiments can and should still be felt. Just as art can generate fervent emotions, memories can always be revived if they are constantly reflected upon. 9/11 will always be an intense memory for those who experienced it and saying otherwise, especially nearing the 10th anniversary is disrespectful.
Of course as generations pass the remembrance may lose its sensitivity, that is true for anything. It doesn’t justify diminishing the rightfully strong feelings of those who are yet in the wake of the tragedy, nor does it make them less valid.
From Adam’s interpretation with “On the Transmigration of Souls” to the 9/11 memorial itself, there are many art forms with which to reflect upon Semptember 11th. When observing these mediums, I believe people should not repress their genuine emotions, for this is when history is doomed to repeat itself.