9/11: The Cultural Bridge

Jake Tapley

It isn’t enough to say that what happened on Sept. 11, 2001, is a historical landmark or national tragedy because it’s so much more than that – calling it such would be undermining its significance.

We can all picture where we were when the planes crashed into the World Trade Center. Think about that – actually think about it.



Thanks to our televisions, we were all there together in New York City watching the devastation unfold and committing it to memory.

How many other moments in your life can you picture perfectly? Or, even better, how many other moments in your life can you and everyone you know picture perfectly?

I’m going to assume, for the sake of argument, that the answer to the second question is “none.” We all have radically different experiences that make it hard for us to truly centralize on anything. It is this subtle yet powerful unity that begins to shape what September 11 means to us.

Diversity is an essential part of every layer of society. As college students, we see it take shape in many ways around our campus and community.

Sometimes this diversity acts a barrier, distancing us from our peers. We don’t always want to acknowledge or accept the differences between ourselves and others.

The events that took place Sept. 11, 2001, reverberated negatively with Americans everywhere. Many lost loved ones in the tragedy and, whether warranted or not, Muslims soon became subject to a newfound discrimination against people of their faith. Despite these hardships, one commonality remains between all U.S. citizens – that day impacted each and every one of us greatly.

September 11 is that one day out of the year where we are guaranteed common ground with everybody – that’s the heart of it. It’s the bridge between each and every societal gap.

People of all ages, races, religions and socio-economic backgrounds can at least have this one day together.

Since the rest of the year is spent with all of us living in cohabitation with one another, I, for one, embrace the fleeting sense of community that comes on September 11.