What did we learn on 9/11?

I saw a post from a friend who is a teacher showing a picture of a patriotic 9/11 backpack of one of her students full of American flags and “God Bless America.” She mentioned how her class had talked a lot about 9/11 the last few days. She mentioned that she was glad the lessons we learned on 9/11 weren’t lost on a 13 year old. My initial response was to like the post. But, afterwards I started wondering what lessons we learned on 9/11?

This really isn’t a polemic to start a rant and give my opinion. I am genuinely curious. When I look at the United States today, I wonder what we learned on that morning 18 years ago. I wonder at times if we learned anything. At other times I wonder if I like what we learned. 

I was in NYC on that mourning. It will always be ingrained in my mind. I will always remember wondering if I will be able to get home to my family and walking toward the train against the flow of people who were waling across the Brooklyn bridge to leave Manhattan. I will remember sitting on the train, the last one to leave Brooklyn, and seeing people covered in ash embracing and crying as the saw co-workers who they did not know if they survived or not. I will remember sitting in an art history class two days latter as we all sat there raw unable to process. We didn’t discuss any art that day. 

I remember the camaraderie that we felt as New Yorkers and Americans over the following weeks and months. So, it is with all seriousness that I wonder what we learned as a nation and what we learned personally.

What did you learn? What do you feel we learned? I’m deeply curious. Please take a few minutes to give me your perspective on this. 

Thank you! 

Rondall Reynoso

Rondall is an artist, scholar, and speaker. He is currently an Assistant Professor at Lee University in Cleveland, TN. He holds an MFA in Painting and an MS in Art History from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY and is completing a Ph.D. in Art History and Aesthetics from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA.

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