I left the interview thinking about this combination of an immediate personal loss and a historical event that remains vivid for those old enough to remember it, but which is also receding in time. And I was reminded of a moment several years ago when Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. visited our Syracuse campus to give a speech about the environment. Along the way he referenced John F. Kennedy’s presidency and his memories of that era. He then began a sentence with “When my uncle was murdered…,” which stopped me cold, and in that second reframed my sense of the Kennedy assassination—what had been a historical event captured on amateur film became a crime victim’s personal story.
I imagine that dealing with that paradox will follow the families of the victims of 9-11 throughout their entire lives.