Thursday, May 8, 2008

September 11, 2001 in History





Our tour through American history ends this year with September 11, 2001--specifically how the nation and the world remembers "that day." We thus focus on the concept of historical memory, in essence the act of remembering or recollection. I've constructed this concept via mathematics:

(t, p, c, c) individual remembrance + collective recollection = historical memory

[t=time, p=place, c=culture, c=context]



Even though the equation cannot account for all historical variables and the multiple contingencies of time and place, when we consider time, place, culture, context along with individual memories and collective recollection then we can begin to understand how and why societies remember events in certain ways. We identified various kinds of evidence for these memories: textual, visual, material, and oral.



This unit began with yours truly describing memories of 9/11--specifically the birth of my first child on that day. Then after reading the e-mail from a survivor who worked in 2WTC, we listened to some of the memories musicians offered as the remembered and/or commemorated 9/11, and we encountered the memories of children and 9/11. Movies also play a significant role in how 9/11 has been recollected, as does various kinds of art and architecture. And since each individual remembers events differently, with historical memory there are always counter memories, or alternative stories or counter narratives--mostly referred to as conspiracy theories. As such conspiracy theories have their own history and can serve as historical evidence to analyze.



Bruce Springsteen's "The Rising" offered musical memories, and the Harvard educated Islamic hip-hop artist Abu Nurah defines jihad through rhymes and rhythms. Country musician Charlie Daniels interprets 9/11 with "This Ain't No Rag, It's a Flag," as does Toby Keith in "Courtesy of the Red, White, & Blue, and Alan Jackson's "Where Were You?" Christian singer Derek Webb responded to 9/11 and subsequent events with "My Enemies are Men Like Me," and Jewish reggae artist Matisyahu remembered it through "What I'm Fighting For." Although this is just a small musical sampling of memories among many, it reflects multiple points of view.





Countless movies provides visual dramatizations as well, and United 93 is an interesting film since it used both actors and professional pilots and fight attendants. Here's a helpful list of 9/11 in films, and other segments of popular culture. The list helps us to think further about the reach of historical memory and cultural commemoration.




Various on-line archives continue to document September 11, 2001 and provide countless resources, including images, audio, and art. See the September 11 Archive, the Library of Congress's collection, an archive devoted specifically to TV coverage, an archive that documents what it calls "prior knowledge," and another resource called "9/11 Truth." Other resources include an academic journal titled Journal of 9/11 Studies, as well as tons of books on the subject. Finally, the Journal of American History devoted a 2002 issue to teaching and 9/11, and published those articles as a book. I have also used legal historian Mary Dudziak's edited collection of essays on 9/11 in class.




Counter memories of many events persist, and conspiracy theory has a history all its own. A stock industry rose up, for example, offering alternative readings of the JFK assassination. Books continue to pour off the presses about this subject. The most notable and well-known counter stories about 9/11 come in an on-line documentary titled "Loose Change." Critics contest the film, and the filmmakers are adamant about evidence and interpretation. The theologian David Ray Griffin is probably the most prolific writer on the subject, with a book about his own investigation, a book about the 9/11 Commission Report, a book that addresses his critics, and an "open letter" to politicians and the media.



Two days of class presentation and discussion about this event hardly does justice to the enormity of the topic, but it does provide a way to think about something "familiar" with new eyes and hopefully in an entirely new way.

As I said way back in August, history is not simply just what happened in the past, but "facts" about which many people offer points of view.

How did our brief discussion--and your own perusal of the additional material I've provided--enhance, amend, revise, refine, challenge, and/or confirm your memories and understanding of 9/11?

[Photos: WTC and pictures of the flag. Whisper here.]

40 comments:

Anonymous said...

This post was very interesting and i thought it was very cool to listen and watch the videos of all the singers that sang to comemmorate 9/11. My fave video was toby keith because even tho alot of the people in our class thought that he sang in a way that was very arrogant, one has to understand where he is coming from and the audience that the song is targeted towards...you see it in the video where he performs in front of the u.s. troops, you see the troops get fired up and it honors them and the things that they r doing to help defend our country.

-Jason S.-

Anonymous said...

This is brandon powell here and i too enjoyed the videos and my favorite one wasa also toby keith's video. Tears came to my eyes everytime those troops cheered for Toby when he said a line that was patriotic! great way to end the year!

Anonymous said...

I thought to discussion on tues. and wed. was pretty neat. i especially like that we lerened about 9/11 through different music and that documentery. But I have to say that Matisyahu is my favorite!! But I did like how we comparred totally different musical styles along with different themes in lyrics and described what the artist was trying to convey.

Serena Hudson

Anonymous said...

The discussion on 9/11 was interesting and I learned a lot more. I had been unaware that so many songs and movies were made in reference to it. I also knew kids lost their parents or grandparents, but I had never really thought about it and I realized when looking at the list of the people who died that there some young kids and so many young adults. I think this was the most interesting time period to learn and study.
-Shannon D.-

Anonymous said...

i think that this last section was interesting to study because it was so recent. so many songs have been written today to support the troops and the war to let the soldiers know that the people they are fighting for appreciate the dedication they put in daily. i think that Toby Keith's song is one of the strongest support songs, i also know that many coutnry artists have written similar songs to show their appreciation for the soldiers.
chris duncan

Anonymous said...

I thought it was interesting studying 9/11. I really didnt know every detail about that day. The email that we read in class about that man's day was good because it gave a personal look on that day. I also enjoyed listening to the varies songs. I had heard the Toby Keith song and Alan Jackson song but I had not heard the others. I can't imagine actually being in New York or close to New York when the planes it the buildings.
kirstyn dominy
period 1

Anonymous said...

the discussion in class and the blogpost helped me relive the day the plane crashes happened because i have vague rememberance of the day and the information helped me make light of the events. what i found most interesting was the supposed prior knowledge about the terrorist attacks. how the government had been given information on future attacks on the CIA builiding and Pentagon.

Sarah
period 1

coop_da_ville00 said...

On September 11, 2001, i was in fifth grade so i don't remember that much of what was going on except that the adults were crying and the kids were getting taken out of school by their parents. The discussions we have had in class the past few days have helped me in remembering what my feelings were, and it just helps me grasp a better understanding of what other people were feeling. Looking at the many different ways in which people remember the day such as pictures movies songs or personal experience has helped me further get an idea of what happened and how it has affected people's pasts and futures. These discussions also bring me a deeper love for my country.

Anonymous said...

when the terrorist attacks happened on 9/11 I was in fifth grade and I didn't understand what had happened, I didn't really even know where or what the World Trade Centers were. As I grew older I eventually understood the significance and the consequences of the event; the discussions in class and the blogpost helped me understand the event from different view points, from the singers that wrote songs, from the eyes of children and even from the people that were directly affected by the attack
Nick Daniels

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed reading this post. I learned more about the views people had on 9/11.

richard salinas

Anonymous said...

Well i think the most influencial thing that we read was the email that was sent by the survivor. I think the emial really opened my eyes to the complete chaos that transpired that day and the fear of whether he was going to live or not! It really taught me to value my life and remain grateful that nothing happened any of us! This whole post on September 11 has been really cool because we have gotten to reflect on that day! I really enjoyed it!

Josh McKenzie
Period #1

Anonymous said...

Since taking your 9/11 in history and memory interim term class last year, I remember all of the songs we listened to and the discussions that took place. When 9/11 happened I was just a young girl in fifth grade not really understanding what had happened. But having the discussions in class helped me better understand the politics behind it all. I loved listening to the music, especially Matisyaho because I really feel like he truly believes in what he is saying.

--Hayden Smith

Anonymous said...

I found the post interesting and i really enjoyed the discussions that we had about 9/11 this year. I really enjoyed listening to the music that we got to listen to in class. My favorite songs were by Toby Keith and by Alan Jackson. It was interesting to see the variety of views that different people help concerning responses to 9/11. Alan Jackson simply posed a question concerning how people reacted to 9/11. Toby Keith called for revenge. A very enrighing experience

-David Lim-

Anonymous said...

Remembering 9/11 from when I it occured many thoughts come to mind. I didnt really understand the danger and importance of this
day until I learned about it and became a bit more mature. Reading this post and listening to your story made me appreciate and love
the different perspectives that everyone had in regards to the September attack. Learning how
9/11 globally effected the economy, politics,and society proves its importance and how eye
opening it was to me on many different levels.This post contains great information and interesting insite on the subject and i enjoyed reading it.
Kayla Adel

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed this blog post becausae it combines music and videos in the discription of how exactly how the true american felt.
staley

Anonymous said...

Our discussion over 9/11 was outstanding! my favorite thing was watching the video of the kids and hearing what they had to say about 9/11. 9/11 is an event that will never be forgotten. It will be told throughout generation to generation. Those who died in the this tragic accident are heros for many of us today. I cant even imagine how the people who lost loved ones felt at this time. As much as my heart was hurting for those who died just think of those peoples hearts to lost loved ones. I am very thankful for our country and everything that we have done! thank you for giving us this opportunity to study and learn more about 9/11!

kendall

Anonymous said...

shanklin^^^^^^

Joshua W said...

I was a student in your interim term class last year on the subject, so i can definitely attest to the mass amount of information there is on the subject, of which the examples in the overview the other day barely scratch the surface. 9/11 was definitely a complex turning point for world history at the turn of the millennium

Anonymous said...

I was in fourth grade on 9/11 and I didn't understand what was going on when it happened. As I got older I realized how important September 11 was and how it changed the United States forever.I thought it was interesting to learn about it in your class because it made me think of that day in a different way and from different points of views.My favorite song was probally Toby Keith's.

Mary Martin

Anonymous said...

The posting for 9/11 was very meaningful and emotional. It had many points of view and thoroughly covered the different points of view. My favorite songs were the Toby Keith and the Alan Jackson songs because they described the reactions of real Americans.

Kevin Smith

Anonymous said...

Our own memories of 9/11 are different than anyone elses. Learning about the different songs and reading other people stories just adds to out memories of it. Also is lets us see what happened through someone else. All the links were helpful because you have a visual representation.

-Martha De Leon

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed learning about 9/11 and i found it interesting to study a topic that occured only a few years ago. Also i never realized the musical responce to 9/11 and how different artist were able to spread thier views through lyrics.

Alec Beustring

claire said...

Toby Keith's music video, when it hit the climax of the song and the troops were yelling, really captivated patriotism. Love for one's country is important and alot of people forget that. The music video reminded me that patriotism and loyalty to our nation can be so magical.

Anonymous said...

I felt that it was very interesting to be studying 9/11 because it is a tragic part of American history that happened during our lifetimes. I enjoyed listening to the different songs produced by different viewpoints of the tragedy. I think that the further study upon 9/11 has given me a better understanding of the event seeing as though I was quite young when it occured and did not quite fully understand what had happened.
- Jesse Worsham

Anonymous said...

The discussion on 9/11 was good and I learned more. I had no idea so many things were made about it. I didnt know kids could have such mature opinions of the attack. Great Year!
-Houston

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed learning about September 11 i thought it was very intresting. Since I was pretty young when it happened it was intresting to relearn about it enlight of everything else that was happening in the world.

-kendall stiefel

Anonymous said...

I think this was an interesting way of learning about the 9/11. My fave vid was toby keith even though i dont like country music, but i really thought it was interesting how he got the troops attention and how he said they should fight back
-Big daddy J AKA Johnatan Herrera

Nikolas said...

I've always enjoyed reading and learning about current events but this post is a bitter memory in most people's minds. To tell the truth I hate looking back on all the pain this event caused but I get even more upset when I hear protesters or conspiracy theorists come around saying that America deserved such a tragedy. Face it some of the arguments against the war or about 9-11 are beyond stupid.

Nikolas said...

I thought that the post was very interesting and confirmed what i already new about 9/11. Remembering back to gave me chills, and remineded of how and what could happen in a few seconds of time. The vodeos and songs, to me, were my favorite!
Robert H.

Anonymous said...

it was good. i remember where i was when 9/11 happened. i was pretty confused, and didn't know what a big deal it was. the movies and discussion were good.
jotour

Anonymous said...

this is doug's and john's post

Anonymous said...

The discussion of 911 was interesting , I didnt know many details about what was going on and I was sleeping at the other side of earth when it happened. The email we read in class was really real, I was interested in it.
Jinxuan chen

Anonymous said...

last one was from john too

Anonymous said...

911 ahd a huge impact in our lives and we have had to live with the devistation ever since then. To this day everytime i watch a not so resent film where you can see the twin towers in it, i cannot believe that they are gone. The songs that artist have wrote prove how near and dear the event of 911 are to our hearts and i will never forget what happened on that day. I enjoyed the songs in this blog as much as when i first heard them in your 911 class.

J. Cruz

Anonymous said...

I have enjoyed the studies over the past few weeks about modern history and especially the 9/11 one. You provided so much Information like music from Matisyahu and Toby Keith. The other information like the video with the Kids that told the story of 9/11 was probably my favorite. I really like this subject since we are kind of studying something that we witnessing when we were younger. The difference information that you have provided brought back memories of that day in fifth grade.

-Davison C.

Anonymous said...

When the attacks happened I was in 5th grade so I do not remember much of what happened. Through your class and blog post I have learned many new facts about 9/11! The songs were my favorite part becuase I love country and they are really good songs.

Kendall Burgess
7th

Anonymous said...

sorry i forgot to post yesterday because of football but i thought the information u gave us and the stuff we went over in class helped me remember all feelings i had when the event happened since i was so young the overall tragedy of the event did not affect me, but now lokking back on it it is a very sad and upsetting event

john

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed comparing the diffrent historical memories people have of 911. I loved reading the email from the man that survived...it have me chills. I am so glad i read that. it helped me picture the horror inside the towers. Analyzing song lyrics and listening to music about 911 also helped me identify all the diffrent reactions about the attack.

Mary Papasakelariou

Anonymous said...

i like seeing how our nation can be brought together so quickly just as soon as we suffer emotional damage. Whether or not we were affected directly by what happened that day, everyone has experienced some change in themselves-whether it be big or small. no one can say it hasn't affected them. thats why i think music is such a great way to reach the people. music can provoke emotion that otherwise we may be ignorant towards
--a. elliott

Anonymous said...

i forgot how big of an impact this was on our country. this reeminded me that this trajedy brought the country together in a way that had not been done in many years. i enjoyed seeing how wveryone was so supportive ofthe troops.

Tom Peacock