In Eberly’s “Framing Public Memory”, she explains how rhetoric shapes memories and how those things are memorialized today. Eberly utilizes the University of Texas at Austin tower shootings of 1966 to explore the idea of how we memorialize traumatic events. Eberly does this through analyzing different media such as songs, talk shows, newspaper articles, student work, etc.

In order to take a closer look at Eberly’s theory, I did some research and came across a memorial website about the Virginia Tech Massacre of April 16, 2007. The VT massacre started early that morning in a dormitory and ended in a classroom building, ultimately slaying 32 innocent people and injuring many more. Gunman, Seung-Hui Cho was a 23-year-old Virginia Tech student who was described as an introvert and rarely spoke.

VT 2008 Candlelight Vigil

 

The website was created by the University itself and is even linked on their main University website. While the website was initially created as a place to get all the desired information for the 2008 Day of Remembrance, it is still a useful tool in recognizing the tragedy. Features on the website include biographies of the fallen, options for people to send condolences, support resources, and various links with related content such as memorial videos.

I felt as though this memorial website was a great comparison to Eberly’s article due to her mentioning that UT does everything possible to “hide” the tragedy by doing things such as forbidding people to go up into the tower and dismissing all discussion about the incident. Eberly claims that the UT campus avoids any talk about the sniper shootings and has done such a good job keeping it under wraps that those who aren’t native to the area may have never even known the event occurred.

UT at Austin Tower

While there were less people murdered in the UT Tower massacre than in the VT massacre, it still is questionable whether or not the tragedies should be memorialized in similar manners. In both situations, innocent lives were lost and those who served as witnessed are forever changed from being victims of a mass killing in a place that should never be considered unsafe. Virginia Tech as a university has been very public about it’s remorse and devastation over the occurrence whereas the University of Texas at Austin wants nothing more than for people to forget the heartbreak altogether.

As Eberly pointed out, these tragedies are events we will never be able to forget thanks to media. Although some would rather these events be forgotten, it is still questionable due to the respect those who lost their lives deserve. These people will not get another chance to tell their family and friends they love them, some will never have the opportunity to marry the person of their dreams. This invites the inevitable question, who’s to say what should and shouldn’t be remembered?

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