On this Tuesday morning 11 years ago, I was pissed to learn in second period Latin class (yes, I was in high school) that our cross country meet on a perfect, temperate day had been cancelled. By third period English class, I was shocked and devastated to have discovered why. Today, we did an amazing workout in honor of the those who lost their lives, fought to survive, and the men and women who continue to put up a good fight overseas and on the border. The workout has much symbolism: 11 reps of 9 different movements with 2001 m of running on each end as well as 175 lb of weight to represent the flight number of the one plane and 110 lb to represent the number of floors in the WTC. I encourage everyone to do this today for those who have sacrificed, thank you: 2001 m run, 11 box jumps (high), 11 burpees, 11 chest to bar pullups, 11 power cleans at 175, 11 handstand push-ups, 11 swings at 70 lb, 11 toes to bar, 11 deadlifts at 175, and 11 push jerks at 110, 2001 m run.
In the research community, it is amazing to see a plethora of psychosocial, physiological, and neuroscience-related research that has been produced by studying first-responders, victims, victims’ families, survivors, other military personnel, you name it. It truly shows the short- and long-term consequences of this tragedy, ranging from increased risks for anxiety-related disorders and substance abuse. One of these studies was published by the extra-departmental member of my dissertation committee at Kent State University, Dr. John Updegraff. In this study, individuals who became determined, and I guess in some cases, obsessive over searching for and finding meaning in 9/11 from a variety of perspectives—albeit politically, religiously, socioeconomically, maybe even paranormally–searching for meaning was associated with higher posttraumatic stress, whereas finding meaning, even for those “Truthers,” was associated with a reduction in posttraumatic stress; hence, finding meaning in the attacks served as a coping mechanism to the short- and long-term stressors endured from 9/11.
This weekend, I plan to begin reading a first-hand account of the 2011 raid that assassinated Osama bin Laden by Navy Seal Mark Owen (this is his pen name for reasons of national security).
Updegraff JA, Silver RC, & Holman EA (2008). Searching for and finding meaning in collective trauma: results from a national longitudinal study of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Journal of personality and social psychology, 95 (3), 709-22 PMID: 18729704