Recently on The Root, a post referenced the remembrance of 9/11 as tragedy porn, “On the 11th anniversary of Sept. 11, I find myself saying one thing and one thing only: Please stop telling me about Sept. 11,” writes Elon James. I can understand his sentiment fully because I feel the same way when people celebrate certain holidays I don’t care to follow. But I also don’t think you can police a nation’s reaction to an event that changed history in such a drastic way.
Unlike Memorial Day and Labor Day, 9/11 is not a holiday. I also doubt it will ever be one, but it’s a day when thousands of families and officials pay tribute to the lives that were lost that day. These people didn’t die for their country in a war. They were not soldiers sent to combat. They were teachers, accountants, firemen, children and pilots. They started their day just as any normal day, but then the unexpected occurred. It’s not so much that you’re reliving a tragedy, but paying tribute to the thousands of lives that were lost. The families of the victims share a bond that will never be forgotten. Even though it’s been 11 years, the scars are fresh to many people who lost loved ones and the landscape of a city changed. The way our country deals with national security changed. And unfortunately with these changes also brought a sense of fear that occasionally shows itself as prejudice.
I can understand how some people may not want to see or hear about 9/11 memorials, year after year. Yesterday, the news replayed clips from that day, families gave interviews, candles were lit to honor the lost lives and politicians gave speeches. But to call it tragedy porn, is a bit much. Remembering and reliving are two different things. Memorials are not done to relive a horror. Memorials are done to remember. Just as a family member may remember a loved one that passed away by visiting a grave, our country comes together on 9/11 to do it on a larger scale.
People who choose not to ‘remember’ should never forget that you have the option to disconnect for the day. Step away from the internet so you won’t be bombarded with tweets or Facebook updates, turn off your television and don’t listen to the radio, or write a blog about how you’re tired of being forced to relive it all. Thousands of families can never forget the tragedy of that day and no one can tell anyone how to grieve or how much grieving is too much.
What is your opinion on 9/11 memorials? Do you think public memorials and grieving should have be referred to as “tragedy porn”?