Okay, I’ll go for a 9/11 post…but I’ll make it quick. I’m seeing a lot of images on Facebook like the one above, posted by friends of various political persuasions. All these friends can appeal to what they have in common, after all–a unifying sense of patriotism and national identity. I’m struck by these images, I suppose, because of my curiosity about what we think we’re appealing to with slogans like “Never Forget.” Because that’s what they are, right…slogans? Made by folks who distribute them for public consumption and dissemination…? And yet, there seems a very present sense that we’re tapping into a shared experience, a common feeling–one that reminds us that we are “Americans first.” Enter Emile Durkheim. If we’re Americans first, and if our shared concept of community and identity is so palpable, why do we need to be reminded so often to “never forget”…? Could it be because national identity, like so many other acts of identification, is not a real and abiding thing but rather something contingent and always on the verge of breaking down? If so, it would seem this bit of social formation–that is, national acts of remembrance–is a product of short-term memory and thus something we need to remind each other of every now and again to keep hold of the event’s (seemingly obvious, natural, deep, etc.) importance.