Apparently there’s still certain limits a person cannot go past, even after 12 years since that tragic day in New York, 11 September 2001. At 11:15 am, the phone company AT&T decided to Tweet a memorial picture of the 9/11 Tribute in Light. The picture is of one of their phones, in front of the Tribute in Light, displaying what looks like someone snapping a photo using the phone, with a text above it saying “Never Forget”. Twitter went haywire soon after, with claims of AT&T being “distasteful” and even “unpatriotic”.
I, personally, see absolutely nothing wrong with AT&T’s 9/11 memorial. In fact, I find it quite clever and really capturing just how much we’ve changed as a society since 2001. When 9/11 occurred, there was no such thing as a Smart Phone, or an iPhone, or even an iPad or Tablet. 2001 had digital cameras, yes, but ones that still had grainy video recording capabilities. Today, however, landmarks like the Tribute in Light are surrounded by people with their cell phones and other mobile devices, taking photos to help them prolong that very moment – to “immortalize”, per se, that moment they stood before said landmark.
Tonight, at the Tribute in Light, while you’re praying or showing your respect to those who died 12 years ago, look around you and notice how many mobile devices are out, just above everyone’s head, taking photos and video recordings. There’ll be thousands upon thousands, I guarantee it. That is the culture we’ve become today – a technological one.
So what better way for a phone company like AT&T to memorialize 9/11 than by displaying a phone on their memorial? Several people have claimed that the company was attempting at selling their product by using 9/11 as an advertisement opportunity. The problem with this assumption, though, is that people are going to purchase their product regardless, and honestly they’d be doing the same thing by simply displaying the Tribute in Light without a phone – a phone company showing their patriotism wouldn’t get people to buy their shit? Seriously? All they did was display a clever photo, paying tribute to 9/11, with a text above saying “Never Forget”, not “Never Forget…buy AT&T.”
Which brings me to certain comments against AT&T’s attempts at memorializing 9/11 – claims of being “unpatriotic”. Honestly, I find this more so ironic than anything else. In my mind, there’s nothing more “USA! USA! USA!” today than cell phones taking pictures of anything and everything, especially beautiful tributes like the Tribute in Light.
There are plenty of things to attack AT&T for. I, myself, have nothing but absolute disdain for the company, seeing as how my father used to work for them and was fired because he made the choice to stay home and take care of his sick wife – my mother. Unfortunately she passed away exactly 5 months ago (11 April 2013) because of cancer. So when I think of AT&T, I think of a backstabbing company who was too greedy to understand why my father couldn’t go to work at the time. But even then, when I talked to my father today, mentioning the AT&T 9/11 controversy, even he said, and I quote, “those people just need a cup of shut-the-hell-up.” Oh, and fyi, my father is also a disabled veteran – Navy Seals, Seal Team Six.
So when a company my father, a disabled veteran who has stronger emotions about 9/11 than most people would, was fired from displays a 9/11 memorial Tweet, and consequently doesn’t get bent out of shape over it, then that tells me there’s something a bit more going on other than the AT&T 9/11 Tweet that’s evoking such unnecessary anger from some people.
Unfortunately AT&T apparently crossed a line that some have deemed “uncrossable”. As a result, the company had to take down the Tweet and issue an apology. If it was me, I would’ve held my ground and let the haters hate. So don’t worry, AT&T, I’ve decided to display the same photo you Tweeted just above this article. I liked it; I found it clever. So I will exalt it here on my blog.