Two days ago, we went to the 9/11 memorial. And it was weird. Now I don’t mean it was weird in reference to the museum itself but to the overall range of emotions I felt from the museum.
Now to start off, I’m not usually crier. I’m not saying this to protect some sort of fragile masculinity I have. It may be just that haven’t had any sort of experiences in the last decade that were emotional enough for tears. At this museum though, I was basically on the verge of crying and surrounded by others in the same state.
The museum contained several different exhibits from art pieces to a full on timeline of the events during 9/11. The emotional impact was felt on the shoulders of every single person there that I could see.
One of my favorite parts of the museum was an art piece that tried to memorialize what the sky looked like that morning before the terrorist attacks. There was a square piece painted blue for every single person that died during those events. It was an expansive piece consisting of 2,983 blue squares of varying shades that surrounded a quote from Virgil saying “No day shall erase you from the memory of time”. The piece is called Trying to Remember the Color of the Sky on that September Morning, and was created by American artist Spencer Finch. The museum plaque for the piece explained that his work “centers on the idea of memory. What one person perceives as blue might not be the same as what another person sees. Yet, our memories, just like our perception of color, share a common reference.”
This resonated so strongly with me because it was such a simple idea that most Americans don’t understand. More in reference to the perception of Islam in America, most Americans, in my experience, don’t understand how influential the media is on our perceptions on different groups of people. Especially Muslims. According to the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, 80% of US media coverage of Muslims is negative. It’s no surprise then why so many people have a negative view of Muslims. But it feels like the majority of America doesn’t recognize the power the media has over our opinions. Add in all of the fake news that has been bombarding social media within that last week, it disappoints me even more to see people I know assume that anyone that is Muslim has some sort of knowledge about suicide bombers and terrorism or preaches about violence because this is all the information that is shown to them through the news. Now I just wonder how I and others should educate others that there should be no immediate association between Islam and terrorism.
– Griffin Mason