Photo by Becca Price
Pictured is one of the pools at Ground Zero in New York City. The names of the victims from Sept. 11 are engraved on the pools’ edges.
By Rachel Dery
Without a campus remembrance or public reminder, the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks of 12 years ago seemed forgotten as students went through the motions of a normal school day on campus. Although there was a small nod to the grieving families in a prayer during chapel, there was no campus-wide remembrance. However, some students said they paid a quiet tribute; others think the memory is lost on our generation.
Junior Bethany Matz said she thought about 9/11, the families involved, the ensuing war and those who have died, though she doubts whether the rest of campus gave the memory any attention.
Sept. 11 was mentioned in previous years in chapel and other settings, according to graduate Abi- gail Keller. It is regrettable that we have seemingly forgotten about it, Keller said, but there are so many devastating events constantly happening around the world that we need to be aware of.
For most students, the memory is fleeting, with Facebook posts and “do you remember when’s,” Matz said.
Students and faculty alike have thoughts on why our form of tribute has changed.
“I do think that we are very far removed from the event and memory of the event, not only because of time, but because of geographical location and lack of military presence in this area of the country,” Cato McKenzie, a graduate and Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) member, said.
Students in military organizations are perhaps more aware of the event. For example, the Univer- sity of Kentucky ROTC holds a commemoration every year. The memorial is held on the front lawn where ROTC students place flags and read each victim’s name.
Neil Anderson, Asbury professor of Biblical and theological studies, noted that today’s students were younger when the event occurred.
“I think it is getting harder for students to remember,” Anderson said, pointing out that most freshmen were in first grade in 2001.
This effect will continue to multiply. Since children of the new millennium were not born when 9/11 occurred, “teachers say school ceremonies are especially important to keep the memory alive,” according to Lexington WYKT channel 27.
Matz connected the lack of remembrance to the busyness on campus and the fast pace of life.
McKenzie attributed it to another source: “I think that most people are ignorant to not only the event of 9/11 but also the events that followed and the military and government in general when it comes to how they handled the situation,” he said.
Perhaps we might compare how we will see the terrorist attacks of 9/11 in 60 years with today’s view of the attack on Pearl Harbor that occurred 61 years ago, Anderson suggested. He explained that maybe the memory is dimming in intensity, but it can be kept alive by the generation who lived it.
Anderson believes the memory of Pearl Harbor is “muted somewhat to us because of the cacoph- ony of voices that blame America,” whether for being unjust or, to put it simply, for not being a good nation. He said he believes that the same will be true for 9/11.
“The first few years after 9/11, I’m sure it was remembered more effectively than today, simply because we were closer to those events historically,” Anderson said.
Matz and Anderson agreed that the decline in memorializing the day is not intentional.
“We are so busy and so in the here and now as a society that we forget to think about the past and how far we have come,” Matz said.