Shattered Lives Making Sense of September 11th and its Aftermath

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During the terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2001, the author was on a plane headed to Dulles Airport. She narrates and analyzes her experience in terms of how she reframed and made sense of these events. After she first resisted the frame of terrorism, her perceptions were influenced by her location during the attacks as well as by personal experiences of loss, both current (her mother's and mother-in-law's deteriorating health) and past (her brother's death on a commercial airplane). Through autoethnography, she shows that everyday stories of those not directly involved in the attacks, yet devastated by what happened, merit telling. She tells this story to find personal and collective meaning in this tragedy and to provide incentive for others to tell their stories so that we might discuss and better understand the impact of what happened. The author hopes this piece will stimulate a dialogue among qualitative researchers about their role in understanding September 11th.

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Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, v. 31, issue 4, p. 375-410