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Posts Tagged ‘mourning’

We have just witnessed the opening of the 9/11 memorial and museum at site of the destroyed World Trade Towers, an event that once more raises attention to how we Americans form our “collective memories.” (On collective memory, see here, here, here and here.) In a recent suggestive essay in the Journal of Social History, Stacy Otto argues that New Yorkers have mourned the 2001 tragedy as New Yorkers had mourned the Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire in 1911.

In the earlier disaster, with eerie similarities to 9/11, 146 garment workers, many of them women and children, died, often by jumping out of windows to escape the flames. Hundreds of people, unable to reach the victims trapped on the high floors, watched helplessly.

Public mourning of the two events nearly a century apart, Otto argues, was in sharp contrast to the “modern” styles of grieving – or avoiding grieving – that had evolved in the years in between the two tragedies.

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