September 11th

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Throughout history it has been understood that we attempt to comprehend and remember the past in order to not repeat certain events in the future, but we also do this for another purpose, to understand our identities individually and collectively during periods of grief. The September 11th day of remembrance is our nation’s annual honor to the heartbreaking attacks of 9/11. On this day we as a nation can honor the lives that were lost and in turn evaluate our identities separately and jointly. “ ‘This collective trauma marks memories and changes future identities, whether or not the traumatizing event(s) was experienced directly.’ When meaning can be made from traumatic experience, however, it too becomes incorporated into collective identity. Then, the process of reparation, reconstruction, and symbolic healing can proceed” (Pivnick 505). This demonstrates that once we construct meaning from tragic events in our past, only then can we begin to reconcile and move forward. We go through this process by sharing our personal stories which in turn become our cultures mythologies. Cultures throughout the world are centered on a broad range of mythologies. These mythologies enable human beings to accept the burdens of life in times of extreme tragedy. When traumatic events happen, we cling to these myths for understanding our grief and also to help affirm the values that hold us together. Even after time goes by, mythology has an important function when we commemorate that event. In his essay entitled "Enacting Remembrance: Turning Toward Memorializing September 11th," Billie A. Pivnick writes that, to remember and make meaning, we must concern ourselves with . . . 'the One in the Many and the Many in the One' [which] necessitates not just journeying within but traveling together toward ethical and moral witnessing of one another’s pain and tragic plight (509). Sharing personal memories of these events contributes to a shared history that helps us...
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