Yesterday was the 14th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorists attacks in the United States. On that day I was in my third year as an Assistant Professor at the University of Minnesota. When the actual attacks happened I was having breakfast, but did not learn about them until I got to campus about an hour later. When I walked into Appleby Hall the first person who broke the news to me was a student, but I thought that he must have been misinformed, as the news sounded impossible. I walked to my office and said hello to my next door neighbor, who had her door open but was glued to her computer screen. She ignored me, which signaled that something really horrific was happening. After 10 minutes of unsuccessful attempts to connect to the websites of U.S. news providers, I was able to reach the BBC’s website, and spent the rest of the day checking news, and talking with colleagues, friends, and family.
About a month ago I asked my Associate Dean if the college did anything for 9/11 anniversaries, and was told that we do not. Next year will be the 15th anniversary of the attacks, so that may be a good time to start. Perhaps one event can be a screening and discussion of the film Divided We Fall: Americans in the Aftermath. One IMDb synopsis:
When a turbaned Sikh man is brutally murdered in the aftermath of September 11, 2001, a college student journeys across America to discover who counts as “one of us” in a world divided into “us” and “them.” Armed with only a camera, Valarie Kaur encounters hundreds of stories never before told — stories of fear and unspeakable loss, but also of resilience and hope — until she finally finds the heart of America, halfway around the world, in the words of a widow. Weaving expert analysis into a personal journey and cross-country road trip, the film confronts the forces dividing a nation.
I was just informed about the movie by a colleague, and it sounds powerful. I’ll have to check it out as the first step of thinking about a September 11, 2016 commemoration.