This past week marked the 11th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. On September 11th in years past, the country commemorates the attacks with candlelight vigils and the media shares the stories of survivors and those who witnessed the attacks. This year, however, according to CNN, major media outlets such as the New York Times and New York Post, failed to have any 9/11 coverage on the front page of their newspapers.
According to Margaret Sullivan, the New York Times public editor, “The pain, the outrage, the loss — these never fades. The amount of journalism, however, must.”
While this is a very valid argument, I still feel as though there should be at least one article mentioning the attacks on the front-page. 9/11 is a day in which America should come together in memory of the victims of the attack. In essence, 9/11 was a turning point in America’s history and citizens should always remember the events that transpired.
That being said everyone old enough to remember 9/11/2001, has a personal story from that fateful day. While these stories may vary greatly, they all part of the collective memory of 9/11. This collective memory shapes the way we view and remember the events surrounding the attacks. Today many people share their personal thoughts and actions on Facebook and Twitter. Yet, Facebook and Twitter were not launched until 2004 and 2006, respectively.
While the newspapers may not be covering 9/11, Twitter and Facebook users used the day to share their personal stories from 9/11. Yahoo News, shared some of these Tweets on their website, and as I read them I am brought back to fourth grade, where I was during the attacks.
One young woman, @JasminChaves wrote, “It’s weird to think 11 years ago, I was in Kindergarten not knowing why everyone was panicking and crying. I had not a clue..” While @BenCouch wrote, “11 years ago, I was a college freshman, stunned as the Tribeca neighborhood in which I went to high school suffered. #neverforget #riseagain”
These posts make the attacks more personal. This shows that social media can be used in a positive light. It also makes me wonder what the Facebook and Twitter posts would have been like if social media was prevalent in 2001.