Never Forget: Mountain Home Memorializes the 20th Anniversary of 9/11

“I didn’t think that kind of thing could happen in America.”

Brianna Ifland and Elizabeth Harris

 

All photographs courtesy of Elizabeth Harris

Despite being more than a thousand miles away, Mountain Home, Arkansas still felt the shocks of September 11. Baxter County memorialized the 20-year anniversary in the town square during a ceremony on Saturday. KTLO describes the event as follows:

“A ceremony of honor guard, remembrance of those lost on Sept. 11, 2001 and a guest speaker, Captain Russo, FDNY Engine Company 254 who served during the tragic event. MHHS Brass Band, ROTC color guard and representation of Baxter County Fire Departments, Police Departments, EMS and Dispatchers that serve our communities. Please join us on Saturday, September 11, 2021 @ 11:00 am on the Plaza across from the Courthouse.”

The nature of 9/11 commemoration is very different in Arkansas than up north. Myia Treat, an MHHSCA alumnus, now attends New York Film Academy– located in the epicenter of the tragedy.

The personal impact of 9/11 introduces an interesting dichotomy when it comes to educating younger generations. Those, such as myself, who were born afterward understand the sentiment of “never forget,” but what does it say about our perception of the event when you’re showing children videos of people throwing themselves off of a building, unable to differentiate bodies from ash?

She’d see planes flying overhead and ask me, ‘is it going to crash?’ It’s difficult to find a balance of keeping it relevant and not terrifying younger generations.”

— Wyllow Larsen

“My sister is in second grade,” says senior Wyllow Larsen, “and they learned about 9/11 [this last week]… She was in church, actually, drawing pictures of the planes crashing. She’d see planes flying overhead and ask me, ‘is it going to crash?’ It’s difficult to find a balance of keeping it relevant and not terrifying younger generations.”

Others would argue that since people had to witness 9/11 unfold in real-time, younger people should watch it to understand that pain and trauma. Being born in 2004, I can’t say I remember where I was during 9/11. I’ve heard stories from teachers, watched news broadcasts, and even visited the memorials in both Washington, D.C., as well as Ground Zero in New York, but I will never truly understand the toll it took on our nation.

I had the privilege of speaking with someone who was there in the city at the time of the crash. Though they feel more comfortable remaining anonymous, they’re an immigrant who was living in New York City for around a month prior to the crash and continued to live there until around February 2002.

“When [my cousin’s] wife came home, she saw something on T.V. and asked if that was a movie and I said, ‘no, it’s the news…’ We heard the second plane hit the second tower… When it happened, my first thought really was, ‘there’s no safe place on earth anymore…’ I came from a place where bombings happened [somewhat regularly], but I didn’t think that kind of thing could happen in America.”