remembrance on tumblr on september 11, 2011 is almost all about remembering the people involved in one time and many places ten years ago. there are a few essays about a gallifrean time lord and about the power of memory in our lives in general. and of course there are, sprinkled throughout a search on this term, a few photos and a few eulogies for people who passed away on this day in a way that did not involve at all terrorism in new york city, washington dc or pennsylvania. scattered photos of yellow roses popping up in a field of skycrapers and spaces where skyscrapers used to be.
remembrance on tumblr today is also clearly urban and cosmopolitan and civilian: the eternal city. i searched for a long time and could find few images that might include the pentagon or a field in pennsylvania. in general, it seems there are few military folk on tumblr, although clearly there are relatives of soldiers and sailors who have served or are serving in the iraq or afghanistan. many many of the images and the text are of a city that is transformed. first transformed through terror. then transformed through remembrance. so many of the images ask people to reflect, contemplate, honor, remember, investigate the changes in new york city. many of the photos are nostalgic, showing a fascination or a fondness for two buildings that were not loved by many before september 11, 2001. and there are many images of real sights, and many fictitious, of the twin towers in another form: as pillars of light, as mountains, as a reflection in the water surrounding a city skyline. all in all, many of the images of 9/11 and remembrance today are of a city skyline that refuses to change. eternal city.
remembrance today is also about america, americans and americanism. many stars and stripes. on flags. on buildings. in the air. in the water. on the clouds. worn on clothing. as a fashion accessory. some of the images look very much like advertisements for a country and a society that seeks to persuade others. to persuade to remember, to honor, to act with memory in mind. to accept our leadership. here and there are tributes to america. a british many offers a video creation to honor a bond between societies. overall, remembrance on tumblr today is images of first world. type remembrance images in to google, however, and you will find many photos of an annual holiday in great britain and the commonwealth, a public honoring of a war that ended beyond the living memory of almost all on the internet. poppies.
surprisingly, remembrance today has very little to do with future violence, at least visually. there are no images of afghanistan, iraq, pakistan, saudi arabia, or even of terrorists. remembrance is not a companion to vengeance. at least not today. there are individual statements in the essays. we must continue to strike back. we must continue to hunt down. we must continue to pay back. but these are text that describe personal ideas and arguments. and they are few.
remembrance is raw emotion. sadness, anger, love, compassion, hatred, frustration. images of clenched fists, open hands, heads in hands, hands on backs, arms in circles of hugs and extending helping hands. many images of tears on faces. many stories about bodies shaking and trembling. remembrance today is also unguided emotion. how else can we explain an essay by a girl who posts a picture of a shoe from a concentration camp in the holocaust museum in washington dc and asks us to remember today that 3,000 deaths a decade ago really do not compare to 11 million deaths seven decades ago. it must be fear that leads somebody to think that compassion is so scarce that it must be rationed among all of our remembrances, and not rather an endless and bountiful ocean of love capable of sustaining everybody everywhere everytime. or at least this is my hope.
remembrance is youth, at least in stories and words, which is not surprising to see on tumblr. very few of the essays are by adult survivors of the events of a decade ago. there are rather many many essays by young people remembering where they were at that time. so many were in a classroom. so many were with family. and so many were confused, frightened, scared and in wonder why all of the adults they knew were transformed by news from a radio or a television or word of mouth. but not from the internet. and no tumblr. remembrance on tumblr is an expression on a medium that did not exist in the time the images and essays are describing. so we may also view this as an inaugural outpouring and collective expression in a new medium. so many saw this as an event that transformed their own lives. realizing more about the world. seeing more about adulthood. understanding pain. finding purpose. becoming political. growing hatreds and prejudices. learning compassion.