“Motivated by the Audacity:” Remembering 9/11 at Monroe Community College

“Motivated by the Audacity:” Remembering 9/11 at Monroe Community College

[Remembrance Walk, Monroe Community College. Kelly recently moved back to Rochester. While having been to other 9/11 remembrance services, this was her first trip to the MCC site. Along with her friend, Kelly was the last to leave the ceremony. Photo: David Kramer, 9/11/19]

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.

Ceremony, 8/4/16. From Revisiting 9/11: Teaching in the midst of tragedy at Gallery R

Monroe Community College 9/11 Memorial, 8/4/16. From Teaching in the midst of tragedy at Gallery R 

As seen in 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.

8-46 new

8:46 a.m., September 11th, 2019. Every September 11th at 8:46 a.m., shadows align two pieces of white concrete set in the ground behind the monument.

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.


From the Memorial plaque.


(l) members of the New York National Guard (r) greeters Erick Gordon and Oksana Vysochanska


MCC faculty member and Brighton Town Judge Karen Morris.

MCC faculty member and Brighton Town Judge Karen Morris.

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.


On the Remembrance Walk

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.

SEE ALSO The Garden of Hope in Brighton: 9/11/18


Garden of Hope. 9/11/18, Brighton. Next to the Twelve Corners Middle School. From The Garden of Hope in Brighton: 9/11/18


Teaching in the midst of tragedy at Gallery R

About The Author


Welcome to Talker of the Town! My name is David Kramer. I have a Ph.D in English and teach at Keuka College. I am a former and still active Fellow at the Nazareth College Center for Public History and a Storyteller in Residence at the SmallMatters Institute. Over the years, I have taught at Monroe Community College, the Rochester Institute of Technology and St. John Fisher College. I have published numerous Guest Essays, Letters, Book Reviews and Opinion pieces in The New York Times, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Buffalo News, the Rochester Patriot, the Providence Journal, the Providence Business News, the Brown Alumni Magazine, the New London Day, the Boston Herald, the Messenger Post Newspapers, the Wedge, the Empty Closet, the CITY, Lake Affect Magazine and Brighton Connections. My poetry appears in The Criterion: An International Journal in English and Rundenalia and my academic writing in War, Literature and the Arts and Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Starting in February 2013, I wrote for three Democratic and Chronicle  blogs, "Make City Schools Better," "Unite Rochester," and the "Editorial Board." When my tenure at the D & C  ended, I wanted to continue conversations first begun there. And start new ones.  So we created this new space, Talker of the Town, where all are invited to join. I don’t like to say these posts are “mine.” Very few of them are the sole product of my sometimes overheated imagination. Instead, I call them partnerships and collaborations. Or as they say in education, “peer group work.” Talker of the Town might better be Talkers of the Town. The blog won’t thrive without your leads, text, pictures, ideas, facebook shares, tweets, comments and criticisms.


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