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Keep the memory fresh

By Adam Schorsch
web posted September 24, 2001

By now you've all heard endless accounts, portrayals, testimonies, and seen footage of the attack and the chaos that followed. One can hardly turn on their television without constantly being bombarded with images of carnage and mayhem. There are numerous shots of the first and second aircraft strikes, the collapse of both towers, and the near-pyroclastic flow of debris choking the streets in all direction. Someone even managed to capture the sight of a suited business man plummeting to his death from hundreds of feet up.

Even though the shock hasn't worn off yet (nor will it soon), another concern has begun to displace much of the anxiety I have felt since Black Tuesday; what happens when people get sick of the death and destruction? How long can our minds be flooded with such gruesome imagery before we shut down and tune out?

Can this actually stop shocking us?
Can this actually stop shocking us?

In many ways, what is increasingly troublesome to me is that the impact of this tragedy could wear off all too soon, leaving only the passing flash of cognition before we push the thought back into the recesses of our minds. I know it may sound impossible, but think back to the Oklahoma City Bombing; when the bomb went off, everyone was watching the news with rapt fascination. How could such a tragedy come to pass, we thought. How could so many innocent people die? The shock was incredible, but after a month or two of constant regurgitation by the news media, it became old news before its time.

The heartache never went away, but after being constantly subjected to the horror of such a tragedy for so long, people all-to-quickly went back to their routines. Before long, the only time people thought of the bombing was at the mention of either Timothy McVeigh or when the anniversary of the incident was announced. While I don't fault people for not wanting to wallow in misery, I do fault the news media for flogging a dead horse until the impact, the true human factor, was rendered insignificant.

Now I only watch the news long enough to check on the developments of the attack; other than that I turn it off. Not out of disinterest, mind you, just that I'd rather not become jaded and callous to the reality that at any moment, our life and livelihood can be cruelly taken away or altered by one act of terror.

We cannot help our morbid curiosity, but unless we control it we risk deadening our senses to some of the horrors of reality. Personally, I would rather not have the deaths of all those innocent people become just another piece of trivia a few months or years down the road. The danger is real, the destruction is real, and it's up to us to keep the memory of this atrocity alive so that we never allow ourselves the luxury of thinking that any of us are out of harm's way.

Adam Schorsch is the Managing Editor for The American Partisan. He can be reached via e-mail at

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