Leave it to historian Ken Finkel, a distinguished lecturer in American Studies at Temple University, to remind us that the 9/11 of ten years ago is not the only time that day and month play an important role in American history, specifically the Revolutionary War.
Below are Ken’s recollections. Listen or read the audio transcripts:
It’s interesting that this other 911 which was a long time before the one from ten years ago, it was in 1777, tends to be forgotten because of what happened then. There was a roundup in the early days of September 1777, the British were basically knocking at the door, they were about to occupy Philadelphia, the revolutionary war was on, it had begun, the Declaration of Independence was signed and war was now. There was a revolutionary government that was in place and there were rights that people had. Philadelphia was a city with a mix of people including some loyalists, loyalists to the king, there were Quakers here who were pacifists, there were people who were patriots who were working very hard fighting for the cause.
A perpetual visual reminder:
Seeing the two towers in many things, I remember, this sounds stupid but looking at a piece of cake that was tipping over, the last part of a cake and it was standing up and I thought I’m seeing in that the falling of a building . I think people when they’re traumatized they see things and play with those images in many different ways in order to kind of come to terms with them. and so there’s been literature and there’s been painting and sculpture and you wonder and we’re maybe too close to it still to assess it and really calculate the value of this and the longer history of American art and design.