Essay about 9/11 by Robert Pinsky

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Without falling into jingoism or being over-sentimental, Robert Pinsky's poem "9/11" generates a commendable ode to the spirit that drives this country, in addition to revealing the American culture for what it truly is – enthusiastic and frivolous, courageous and fallible, petty and resilient. For most Americans, September 10th is Before, and everything since is After.

Citizens from every state across the U.S. responded immediately to the attacks by giving blood and donating much-needed items to shelters, where an overwhelming amount of aid was sent to assist the itinerant victims. However, it's ironic that the American people – who were so benevolent and charitable for the populace of the 9/11 tragedy – would turn their backs on and
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America's "togetherness," our connectivity with each other, proved false after beginning to fall apart as more and more time passed, and the culture moved away from "horrific" and "terrifying" to "that's so sad" and "I'm so sorry." When Pinksy mentions notorious historic figures, he is proposing that Americans are not as "together" as we would like to seem: "Will Rogers was a Cherokee, a survivor

Of expropriation. A roper, a card. For some,
A hero. He had turned sixteen the year
That Frederick Douglass died. Douglass was twelve

When Emily Dickinson was born. Is even Donald
Half-forgotten?—Who are the Americans, not
A people by blood or religion?" (Lines 21-27)

By including familiar faces such as Frederick Douglass and Emily Dickenson co-habitating along side a "half-forgotten Donald Duck," he is idolizing "real" Americans, actual people who contributed to freedom and the ideals on which our founding fathers hoped our nation would achieve. I believe this is why Pinksy includes these names in the poem – for the very fact that they were ordinary people who achieved many great things – instead of including mainstream celebrities such as Thomas Jefferson and George Washington. Somehow previous generations are dismissed and forgotten when people are not personally affected or connected to the past.
A source of America's
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