Shocked Twice

After reading David Rieff’s “After 9/11 : The Limits of Remembrance”, I was shocked that I never thought about the point he was making about how America will eventually forget about 9/11. He compares 9/11 to Pearl Habor by saying, “But how many Americans actually remember the 1,177 American sailors killed on the U.S.S Arizona that day…” From what I recall the only persons that ever brought up the issue of Pearl Harbor on its anniversary date of December 7th were my Spanish teacher and my American history teacher. This fact does lead to believe that Pearl Harbor is slowly being forgotten. Rieff goes on to say that even FDR, a role model to many Americans, did not say that December 7th was a date that would live forever. Therefore maybe even one of our great leaders recognized that nothing truly last forever. After giving his argument some thought I do believe that Rieff is correct. If the catastrophe of Pearl Harbor can slowly be forgotten, why can’t the similar event of 9/11 slowly fade away with time.

On the other hand I was shocked to see Rieff bring up such an idea when the horrible event only happened ten years ago. Although I agree with Rieff’s idea, I do believe it is too early to even mention it. It is only ten years old, and the people affected by it are still coping with it. I understand that people who have similar experiences to Oskar will find such an idea impossible. For example this event has shaped Oskar’s whole life. He was only 9 when his father died, and it has greatly altered his childhood. He is so obsessed with his father that he is willing to travel around New York City, just to find who the owner is to they key. You just can’t expect someone like Oskar to just forget about such a life changing event or even come to the realization of something like this is possible.

Something I noticed in the picture attached in Rieff’s work is that it has a double meaning. It represents the formation of the 9/11 Memorial. The progress of the project is visible as the towers get higher. But it can also represent the fading memory of the event. It could be as if the memorial is slowly fading away.

A question came up in my mind. While I was reading Bloomberg Businessweek, there was a table of Top Costliest Diasters since 1970 and The Top 10 Deadliest Diasters Since 1970, I noticed how 9/11 only showed up once as fourth most costliest disaster. There have been far costlier and deadlier disasters like the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster of Japan; the 2010 earthquake in Haiti; and the 1970 cyclone in Bangladesh. So why do certain disasters like 9/11 receive more attention than other disasters?