Complexities of commemorating a tragedy like 9/11

Twelve years have passed since the 9/11 attack that left our nation heartbroken with anger and grief. However, with each passing year, people become less and less certain of how to commemorate a day full of tragedies. Of course, more and more people believe that the best way to commemorate what happened is to let everyone else know that you’re thinking about the tragedy on its anniversary.

En masse, people utilize the hashtag #NeverForget on multiple social media platforms. This tweet, status, and post would probably be attached to an inspirational picture of American flag, a soldier, or the Twin Towers. While these are still acceptable, there are a few types of special social media messages out there that perfectly demonstrate how NOT to commemorate 9/11.

First, there are the patriotic “I love America and its military” tweets with a twist, such as this one here: “pause a moment today to give thanks for the US and allied warriors hunting down jihadi scumbags across the globe right now.” It is always nice to get a reminder that 9/11 was the day every Muslim in the world turned into terrorists while sitting at home doing nothing.

In contrast to this tweet, there are comments that turn 9/11 into a political debate about U.S foreign policies. For example, a Facebook status remarked, “who will ring bells for those who were murdered in Iraq and Afghanistan? Are they not human? What right did U.S. have to murder innocent people?” Apparently, it’s “insensitive” to mourn the loss of family and friends because other people are also dying in the world. To other commenters, the best way to commemorate 9/11 is obviously to use the event as a launch board for a debate or a rant about Syria.

Another sure-to-backfire way to commemorate 9/11 is to advertise your product in a really clever and really subtle way while “sending out thoughts to the victims.” The Lakers tweeted a picture with #NeverForget planted across a picture of Kobe Bryant. Um, what are we forgetting about Bryant? In other news, you can get a subscription to Starkville Daily News or nine holes of golf in Wisconsin for $9.11 on this special day. What a time to be alive in America.

All criticism aside, it is still important to remember the tragedy that happened on Septemeber 11th, 2001 and the aftermath that took place. Each of us has a different memory and may choose to commemorate the event differently. Some may offer a day of service or build a memorial; others may write a Facebook status or watch a documentary. However, 9/11 should not be used to advance agendas or to provoke arguments. It is a day to remember the people we lost and the lesson we learned.