Over the past week, the American public has been inundated with file footage from the events of 9-11. Much of this footage has been a tribute to the heroes who gave their lives that day; however, the most graphic content reflects a much more horrific aspect of the moment- death and destruction. No one can discount the painful reality of that day. The destruction of the World Trade Center, the attack on the Pentagon, and the downing of the plane in Pennsylvania were an act of war, and with that came violence, chaos, and carnage; realizations that most people find unappealing even if it reflects the truth of the matter. For those of us who have a tendency to shy away from all things bad, should we have been forced to revisit or see for the first time such graphic representations of the pain and death from that day? As good Americans, we undoubtedly want to honor those who perished by being tuned in to the tributes presented by the media networks, but how much is too much?
The videos of people jumping from the towers will forever be a tragic part of the archive of 9-11. Some would cite these as the most horrific images from that day, yet much of the carnage was never publicly released because it was legitimately too intense for public viewing. The images of thousands of burnt and twisted bodies is certainly something that few people yearn to see, and rightfully so, yet there lingers a debate about the release of this footage. Roxanne Silver, a University of California Irvine professor of psychology and social behavior, had this to say about the matter, “It’s very clear to me that the repeated exposure of images of 9/11 serves no purpose for adults or children, and I would discourage parents from allowing their children to be exposed to graphic images.” In regards to the children, it is easy to agree with this statement as it is a delicate task to educate young ones on these events without overexposing them.
One of the authors of this post had the opportunity to speak to a fourth grade class about 9/11 yesterday and found himself at times challenged to describe certain events from the war, in particular, without being inappropriately graphic. Children aside, many of these images, graphic and patriotic alike, serve as a rallying cry to serve justice on the persons who brought the war to us that day and will forever be a reminder of why we continue to remain vigilant.
– LaPuasa, Claire Dillard, Louis