Culture and Grief

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When the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2011 rocked New York City, Pennsylvania, and Washington D.C., the word “tragedy” was used on a grandiose level around the world. For the people who lived close enough to experience the events first-hand, they may not have even called it a tragedy; perhaps they called it a misfortune, retaliation, lack of a strong government, unreal, or maybe even rebirth. In the coming years after the attacks, everything between standing united as a nation to declaring a war had flourished; but how has that left us - the land that has no distinct ethnicity - feel about each other? Why is it that fear is usually missing in the affective mnemonics of memorial sites, which, after all, are signifiers of some of the most horrific violence in human history? Do memorials dedicated to these attacks bring us together in terms of understanding, or is it just continual collective grief? This paper will cover the global complexity of the 9/11 attacks, the Empty Sky 9/11 Memorial in Liberty State Park, NJ, and factors and theories that memorials do influence a sense of complexity. The ground of public memory is always in motion, shifting with the tectonics of national identity. I chose the Empty Sky 9/11 Memorial as my topic of observation as I, personally, visit a few times throughout the year to pay respects to people I personally knew who perished in the attacks to the World Trade Center. I was in the 5th grade when this happened, and had absolutely no clue what was going on until my father did not return home until two days later with a bandage wrapped around his head and his devastating recollection of what happened just before he arrived to his job. The emotions that I feel within myself compared to others will... ... middle of paper ... ...ral differences in patterns of behavior and of social support includes each culture’s sense of what is sane and healthy, as opposed to life- and health-threatening. Thus, what people do protects the bereaved and in some senses everyone around the bereaved form. The cross-cultural emphasis, in fact, is a kind of metaphor. To help effectively, we must overcome our presuppositions and struggle to understand people on their own terms (i.e., not having the intention or the reason why the man placed a rose over Bella J. Bhukhan’s name). Works Cited Irish, Donald P. (1993) Ethnic Variations in Dying, Death, and Grief. Taylor & Francis. Jordan, Bob. Christie Unveils Empty Sky Memorial. Daily Record. Retrieved 2011-09-11 Urry, J. (2002) Global Complexity. Cambridge: Polity. White, G.M. (1999) Emotional Remembering and the Pragmatics of National Memory. Ethos 27(4): 1-26.

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