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Issue of the Week: How should we commemorate Sept. 11?

Illustration by Arnie Bermudez
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday September 10, 2003

Tomorrow morning, several campus groups will host a ceremony on the UA Mall to commemorate the second anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. We asked our

columnists: Is it appropriate to continue to formally memorialize the event, or should we privately try to move on?

It's time for ceremony to become history

We don't need memorial services to remember Sept. 11, 2001. Every day, Americans feel the aftermath of a tragedy that will go down in the history books; heightened airport security, terrorist threat levels and troops overseas constantly remind us that even a world power is vulnerable. On Sept. 11, the impossibility of danger within our borders became a shocking reality.

But must the media and every speech constantly allude to it? How long will this tribute, which seems to haunt the American consciousness, continue?


Eventually all events, even the most tragic, must pass from ceremony into history. After two years, we must ask ourselves if dwelling on the past is hindering our future. We should never forget the event, but we need to let go and finally lay our dead to rest.

Sept. 11 has been robbed of its anonymity. It now bears the weight of a great sadness that still reverberates. But hopefully, what lasts long after the bruise has faded and the date has melted into the history books which it will, as all great disasters inevitably do are the lessons Americans should have learned: that the world holds us accountable for our actions, that we have enemies who must be addressed and that we are a nation capable of full recovery.

These are lessons the survivors demonstrate by living, not by holding candlelight vigils and formal ceremonies for the dead. Change is our true tribute.

Sabrina Noble is an English and creative writing senior. She can be reached at


Date of tragic events should be marked

Both planes that stuck the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001 took off from my hometown of Boston, Mass., and ever since, flying back to Tucson after visiting my family hasn't been the same.

Chills run down my spine from simply passing through the security checkpoint and down the terminal to my gate the same security checkpoint and terminal terrorists walked though that horrible day.

Now a mere two years later, we're asking the question: Is it necessary to have a ceremony to commemorate the event, or should we get on with our lives?

This is not the right question to ask at a time when we should be reflecting on the thousands of lives that were lost that day. This was a terrible event that touched us all in different ways.

For me, the events where close to home; others had family in the towers and some watched from afar. We need to remember this in addition to the event itself.

No matter how you decide to remember the day, whether you go to the ceremony on the Mall or put an American flag on your car, do it with pride.

Tomorrow, remember the feelings that flooded the country in the weeks after 9/11 as everyone rallied together, and support each other's ways of remembering.

Jason Poreda is a political science and communication senior. He can be reached at


Remember September 11 and defeat terrorism

The war on terrorism is far from over. Two of the worst state sponsors of terrorism North Korea and Iran have hardly been dealt with. Meanwhile, war rages on in both Afghanistan and Iraq.

Sept. 11 was an end to many things, but it also paved the way for a new beginning. Lawmakers were given the opportunity to see the practical result of their ignoring the growing threat of international terrorists who were openly denouncing the western world. Their inaction has changed to action, two regimes that supported terrorism have been overthrown and many oppressed people have been freed.

Almost two years ago, a group of murderers killed thousands of people and destroyed three symbols of freedom and achievement. Ever since, the United States has responded with a policy intended to destroy terrorism that will, if completed successfully, make the world and most importantly, America a safer place.

Staging elaborate ceremonies and dwelling on the past won't lead to anything productive. Remembering what happened and why the war against terrorism must succeed, though, should be all that's needed to rally the dying war resolve.

So long as it inspires people to fight for safety, freedom and justice in an effort to prevent future attacks, everyone should take a moment to remember Sept. 11.

Chad Mills is an electrical engineering and computer science sophomore. He can be reached at


Events are appropriate, but not necessary

What kind of event could do Sept. 11 justice? We all remember where we were when we heard about the twin towers and the Pentagon. No one from our generation will ever forget.

We are still feeling the pain caused by the hijackers. Our economy never fully recovered, our nation has turned to fear and weakness rather than strength and courage, and some of our treasured civil

liberties may be gone forever. It's not a legacy to be remembered with fireworks and a backyard barbeque.

It seems every event that has attempted to commemorate Sept. 11 has taken the obligatory solemn tone of candles and low voices proclaiming that we will never forget, as if we ever could.

I don't personally feel a need to remember that fateful day at an organized ceremony, but for those who do, no harm done. We reach a problem when Sept. 11 becomes an excuse for everything the far right ever wanted and grants a Reaganite administration carte blanche power to do whatever misguided thing it pleases.

I sincerely hope that our local elected officials at the UA ceremony won't scavenge on this unfortunate anniversary to frighten people into supporting unsound policies.

Kendrick Wilson is a political science junior. He can be reached at


One moment of silence is not sufficient

The collapse of the Twin Towers reflected two aspects of American life first, that a majority of U.S. citizens have a fundamental lack of knowledge about general international affairs and history; second, proof that many Americans fail to realize our country is indeed flanked by the rest of the world.

Without a doubt, Sept. 11 needs to be commemorated. Kudos to the organizations on campus who have come together to plan tomorrow's ceremony.

While a moment of silence is needed to remember the victims of the terrorist attacks, more than a morning should be spent commemorating the event. As Americans, we should feel compelled to research and debate in the attempt to grasp an understanding of the circumstances that led to 9/11. Once we have that knowledge under our belts, we can undertake our jobs as informed citizens whose duty it is to engage ourselves in the decisions of the American leadership.

The lesson is simple: We must all live on this tiny planet together. If we can figure out how to put a man on the moon, then it must be possible for all nations and cultures to live at peace.

In the past two years, many campus clubs have sponsored events to discuss national and international affairs. Keep it up. It is time we become informed citizens who can understand that a small ceremony once a year is not enough.

Jessica Lee is an environmental science senior. She can be reached at


On anniversary, don't ramble just remember

Sept. 11 sparked a lot of things, including the phrase "Never Forget." Now with the second anniversary of the attacks upon us, we're faced with figuring out how to honor the day and the memory of the victims.

But we have forgotten in a lot of ways. The anniversary has snuck up on us out of nowhere, with little attention paid to it in the media over the weeks leading up to 9/11. And frankly, what's left to say that hasn't already been said?

If memorializing the day here on campus means listening to speeches by supposed campus and local celebrities, then count me out.

The day has already been far too politicized, as reflected in last year's ceremony. No, the best route is to just remember the day for what is was, like the media seems to be doing.

It might be interesting if the university put together a display kiosk on the Mall with video interviews, pictures and words remembering the day. People could walk through on their own accord and just look and listen.

Pulling out the pomp and circumstance here at the UA with speeches and moments of silence might be a more obvious, less creative approach, but it's time to stop editorializing the day.

Maybe forgetting isn't as bad as we thought it would be.

Daniel Scarpinato is a journalism and political science senior. He can be reached at

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