A Memory: Dramatic, Tragic Irony on September 11, 2001

The most significant memory I retain of the attack on the twin towers, September 11, 2001, is one that produced the height of irony. Irony is marked by an incongruity, incongruity between a situation developed in a drama and the accompanying words or actions that is understood by the audience but not by the characters in the play — called also dramatic irony, or tragic irony.

The news interrupted the program I was watching. I do not remember how this happened, exactly. The news switched to people watching on television the towers being hit. I take it that this was all innocently being done, not knowing what was going to happen. There was a shot of a young boy, sitting on the floor in front of his television set watching the moment of impact. The boy said “Cool!”

The mother rushed to the boy’s side, in tears, and said, “Your father was in that building.”

The announcers of the news made no comment about the dramatic irony they had just witnessed, as they turned to other aspects of the infamous attack.

I assume that the boy was accustomed to seeing such dramatic explosions in the movies and knew that such dramatic events are staged for entertainment and fictional stories. He was enjoying the fireworks knowing it was another fiction.

That footage may still exist in the library of that news station.

September 11 happens to be the birthday of one of my brothers.


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