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Angel PatriotsThe Crash of United Flight 93 and the Myth of America$
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Alexander T. Riley

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781479870479

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479870479.001.0001

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Death, Horror, and Culture

Death, Horror, and Culture

Making Sense of the Senseless in Memorials

(p.35) 2 Death, Horror, and Culture
Angel Patriots

Alexander T. Riley

NYU Press

This chapter explores the cultural question of death and the American response to it in order to understand the meaning of the United Airlines Flight 93 disaster, with particular emphasis on the memorialization of catastrophic death. It begins with an overview of how death as a social reality is perceived by different cultures and civilizations, noting the difficulty of understanding death as a cultural fact. It then looks at examples that demonstrate the nearly unbearable solitude of the dying in some cultural settings and goes on to discuss death's place in American culture. It also considers the risks associated with catastrophic death, along with American public memorials to catastrophic death. Finally, it reflects on Flight 93 memorial sites within the context of the so-called dark tourism.

Keywords:   death, America, United Airlines Flight 93, memorialization, catastrophic death, culture, dying, American culture, public memorials, dark tourism

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