At the Flight 93 Memorial

Kirsten, Kaley, Karen, and Sara.

 

At the Flight 93 Memorial

I took four undergrads to the Flight 93 Memorial today, three of them TAs in my 1010 course and one of them my daughter. The fields were full of goldenrod under a scintillating sky. The site is a huge strip of over 2000 acres located on an old surface coal mine, with wind power turbines turning in the distance.  The landscape plan incorporates coal's "scar" into its design, suggesting in a very subtle way the hidden layers of history and violence that culminated in the attack of September 11.  There is much to ponder here about agency -- the agency of the passengers on the flight, who organized themselves and brought the plane down, and whose remains are still there mostly unrecovered; that of the terrorists, who are unnamed and effectively expunged from the site; and that of the visitors, who are led through the memorial in a tightly choreographed pattern and barred from most of the site by gates, barriers, signs, and rangers.  At the same time visitors are enabled to leave objects and post comment cards, which often follow patterns but are sometimes highly idosyncratic and obscure in their meaning -- windows into other minds.  

Categories: 
  • Agency
  • Environment
  • Undergraduate Work
  • Faculty Work