Remembrance and Commemoration of Two Catastrophes: September 11th and the Holocaust
It is approaching a year since September 11th, yet people still seek ways to commemorate that day and its effect on them. Professors, scholars, Holocaust survivors and students search for ways to memorialize September 11th.
Professor David Emmons of The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey and author and New York City resident Eli Valley recognize the importance of commemorating September 11th through the written word and visuals. Using photography and personal experiences they offer their insight and acknowledgement of the need for personal grieving and communal response in the wake of tragedy.
Just as individuals and communities have been dealing with this catastrophe, so too have survivors of other life changing events, such as the Holocaust. Survivors have been emphasizing the necessity of remembering and commemorating the Holocaust for over half a century. The Holocaust serves as a frame of reference for survivors, particularly when they are confronted with the visual, auditory and sensual responses to catastrophes such as September 11th. Holocaust survivors Maud Dahme, Betty Grebenshikoff, Irving Roth and Fred Spiegel reveal how the events of September 11th brought back searing images and traumatic memories of the Holocaust.
Scholars Hubert Locke and Yehuda Bauer address the issues raised by September 11th and caution us that as good citizens we must act conscientiously and recognize that we have various responsibilities to ourselves, the community and the world at large. They also challenge us to consider how we will protect our country against terrorist acts while preserving our national tradition of civil rights and liberties in a period of national crisis.
Students Sara Tadros and Ozhan Akman from The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey offer their personal reflections on September 11th and about how the event challenged them to confront issues about their Middle-Eastern American heritage. Sharing their fears, disbelief, anger and loss of security, they grapple with how others view them as well as with their own sense of identity.
In the wake of September 11th, Professor Penelope Dugan of The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey designed a Classroom Archive Project to challenge her students to remember and commemorate this tragic event. A case study of her classroom's project presents various ways that students can document events such as September 11th as a form of commemoration and memorialization.
To help students understand the magnitude of these events Professors David Emmons and Paul Lyons have developed a course titled "9/11." The course outlined can be easily adapted to grades 5-12.
Commemorating catastrophic events such as September 11th raises many questions.
Debates continue over what type of memorial(s) and or monument(s) to create. September 11th like other catastrophes must be remembered and memorialized.