Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Isn't it remarkable how the mind works, how the tiniest details of a morning can be crystallized forever? So much like those a generation before us, who remember in exacting detail how they received the news of JFK's assassination and those a generation before them, hearing of the attack on Pearl Harbor, I imagine -- I hope -- that my generation will remember as well the timeline of our collective realization that we had been attacked. For in an age of instant media, we heard about it before we even knew what was happening.

It was my second week in college, a complex time by any standard. I remember that I was standing by the toasters in St. Olaf's cafeteria waiting for my bagel to finish when I first heard that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. Knowing no more than that, we all imagined a small private plane, the pilot off-course and confused. Over the course of breakfast, more students filed in with more bits of news to process, enough to realize something serious was going on. We were watching CNN in the student lounge when the second plane hit, and it became horrifically clear that it was no accident.

We say we will never forget, but already so many are trying as hard as they can to do just that. Our mass media are reluctant to air the video of that day. We live in ahistorical times, and when a people is so willing to forget its past, where can its future lead?

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