sites of memory, sites of trauma, 9/11, public narratives, familial narratives, war and peace


On September 11, 2001, the four plane crashes marked the three sites of trauma that, to this day, sit in the heart of United States history. The paper examines the contested and often conflicting public and familial narratives at sites of memory and the recurring themes behind commemoration narratives. Drawing on newsletter articles and seven interviews with members of September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows and The Peace Abbey, the paper concludes that national and public remembrances of 9/11 adopted a top-down approach that has repressed familial remembrances in three main ways: by glorifying the victims, co-opting the version told of 9/11 stories, and erasing distinct voices that did not fit the national narrative. By contrast, familial remembrances of the victims built a bottom-up approach to memorialize 9/11 and its victims that valued the holistic representation of their lost loved ones in remembrances.