9/11 Reflection: Jay Winter

Remembrance is not a choice; it is a necessity. And that act on 9/11 should always be about the names and faces of those who vanished, about the truncated lives, these possibilities and dreams they never had the chance to realize. They did not have the good fortune to die one at a time. And that is why we must remember them one at a time. The more we focus on the small scale, the individuals, with all their frailties, the families broken, the men and women still in mourning, the rooms uninhabited, the closer we will be to making remembrance a moral act.

Jay Winter is Charles J. Stille Professor of History.


  • SY

    One of the individuals was a 2001 Yale graduate. He was being treated to a breakfast meeting at the 105th floor restaurant. We also should remember how unsuccessful the terrorists were. An hour later, two full buildings would have lost 20,000+ dead–all people on and above the airliners and their fuel. Also, they could not find the White House (settled for the Pentagon) or reach the Capitol Building (settled for a hole in PA). We have many skyscrapers, but the White House and Capitol could have led to total war.