Realization: The U.S. is Not Invincible

National Park Service. Smoke of 9/11 rising past the Statue of Liberty. Digital image. Disinformation. N.p., n.d. Web. 2 Oct. 2012. <>.

The terrorist attacks on 9/11 woke citizens up to the fact that the United States of America is not invincible.

The picture above shows the Statue of Liberty with a city skyline further in the background. The Statue of Liberty is made the main focus, as it is the closest, biggest, and most clear image in the picture. Behind the symbolic statue, smoke is rising to the right over the entire city, which one can intelligently assume is New York City. While the city buildings fade in the smoke, the Statue of Liberty remains clear and untouched. The smoke is singled out in contrast with the blue, clear sky behind it. In a way, the chaos happening in the background distracts the viewer from the focus on the Statue of Liberty. This, I believe, is symbolic to the realization caused by 9/11 that America and what America stands for is not invincible or universal.

The United States is a major world superpower. It dominates politically and economically and has extreme influence over world affairs. The nation prides itself on democracy, security, and justice. With such a secure past and powerful government, you’d think the United States was invincible. Citizens before 9/11 surely believed this until they received a wake up call on September 11, 2001. That morning, all sense of security was breached when a set of four terrorist attacks took place. The most damaging, attacking New York City, resulted in the collapse of both World Trade Center buildings over New York City. The attack caused widespread fear across the American population as the shock that America does indeed have enemies that aren’t afraid to attack settled in. People came to the realization that the terrorist bombing and shootings overseas that they were watching on television were no longer a foreign problem. It was if they were back under “the cloud” of foreign threat, just as they were for the atomic bomb during the cold war.

The Statue of Liberty in this picture could symbolize how all sense of security and pride was violated that day. It stands being shadowed by the doom raising over one of the most populous cities in the U.S. However, the fact that it stands tall despite the disaster happening behind it could also be symbolic to the fact that, despite the chaos, surprise, and damage of 9/11, America was ready and willing to fight back for justice. Either way, the tragic day of 9/11 showed American citizens that the United States is in fact a reachable target and can be vulnerable to outside enemies. America was no longer invincible.

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One comment

  1. I think this curation is extremely well done. You do a great job to explain the symbolization of the Statue of Liberty and the focus on it in this picture. Perhaps you should talk about the history of the Statue of Liberty. Why was it made? What themes did it originally represent? I think that would add even more substance to your analysis, but I still think your interpretation of the image is profound and well explained.

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