Yesterday, for the 18th year, hundreds gathered at Monroe Community College’s Remembrance Walk to commemorate the tragic events of 9/11, leaving a wreath and flowers at the adjacent memorial. Speakers reminded us what we knew: we will always remember where we were that grim morning.
As seen in Revisiting 9/11: Teaching in the midst of tragedy at Gallery R, a piece on an RIT project that documents recollections from that day and beyond, my own experience was somewhat surreal.
I was driving north to Providence, Rhode Island when the news broke on the radio, wondering how many in the cars around me knew and were also listening on their radios. The other drivers looked intent and still, but I could not know for sure. Were we supposed to gesture or honk our horns? Turn on your radio! Six years before the release of the first generation iPhone, most were probably not getting calls or texts or on the internet. We experienced the event in numbed isolation.
MCC faculty member and Brighton Town Judge Karen Morris left her flower as has done since the Remembrance Walk opened in 2002. When the college was first soliciting donations, Karen offered a rallying cry.
Karen explained that she was motivated by the sheer audacity of the terrorists. For Karen, the audacity was the outrageousness and unacceptability of the acts: “beyond the pale.” Furthermore, the terrorists imagined they could get away with their atrocities. For Karen, the day was a wake up call for Americans. We needed to educate ourselves and pay closer attention to swirling and dangerous global forces. Ultimately, we honor the victims by identifying and eliminating the underlying causes generating such virulent hate.