Are 9/11 Memorials Still Worth It, 11 Years On?
Memorial concert is in its eleventh year.
Over a decade after the 9/11 terror attacks, how long should this country continue mourning the victims?
The crowd at Tuesday's 9/11 Tribute Concert at the Lake Harriet Bandshell in Southwest Minneapolis' Linden Hills neighborhood was around half the size of last year's 10th anniversary memorial concert. But for the hundreds that did show up to perform, to organize the event, and to watch, this anniversary was still worth commemorating.
To some, the live television images of jet liners crashing into skyscrapers were still fresh in their minds.
"As I was helping hang the scrolls (showing the names of the 9/11 dead) on the side of the Bandshell, a jet flew over, and the sound just made me cringe," said Minnetonka resident Mary Helmbrecht, one of this year's event organizers. "Those horrific attacks are still so raw for me."
Others said the anniversary was important to mark because of the attacks' deep impact on the country.
"It changed all of our lives, how we think of the world," said audience member Glory Kibbel of Forrest Lake. "After 9/11, there was this sense that 'it could happen to us,' too."
Ingjerd Postmyr, a Norwegian resident in Minneapolis to visit friends, said that the 9/11 attacks impacted people across the world.
Kibbel and friend Donna Adams of Minnetonka said they didn't think America or Americans had felt that vulnerable since the early days of the Cold War.
"Those of us who lived through the Cuban Missile Crisis know what it's like to feel under threat," Adams said.
Other concert-goers said it was important to mark the memory of the 3,000 attack victims.
"I remember that day, people were saying 'We'll never forget you,' and I really meant it when I said it," said East Harriet resident Susan Gray, another event organizer.
Postmyr and others told Patch that commemorations like the Lake Harriet concert are one way to try to keep the victims' deaths apolitical.
"In Norway, we just had a memorial to our national tragedy, July 22 of last year. The most important thing is to get together," she said, referring to the 2011 Utøya massacre by a right-wing gunman. "You want to keep the memory of those victims sacred."
Over and over again, though, audience members and participants told Patch that they wanted to commemorate what they said was a moment where Americans overcame their political differences to stand together as a country.
"It's so out of character for me to even be at something like this," Gray said. "But today, it feels ok to wave the flag and be grateful for that coming together."