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View Full Version : Why call it "Sept 11th Attacks?"


ivylass
09-03-2006, 03:39 PM
As we come up on the five year anniversary, it occured to me that we've been referring to the terrorist attacks on New York and the Pentagon by the date. We don't call it December 7th attacks, we call it Pearl Harbor Day. We don't call it the invasion of June 6th, we call it D-Day.

But lately we've been referring to the attacks by the date (Sept 11, July 7th for the London bombings, etc.)

How and when did that happen? Is it because Sept 11 = 9/11 = 911? Is it because it was such a massive attack in several different areas that Sept 11 is the quickest way to refer to it?

Revtim
09-03-2006, 03:42 PM
Is it because it was such a massive attack in several different areas that Sept 11 is the quickest way to refer to it?That's my guess. Calling it the World Trade Center attacks would be inaccurate because the Pentagon was hit too, plus that could be confused with the WTC bombing some years before.

Colibri
09-03-2006, 03:44 PM
I'd agree with Revtim. Since it involved simultaneous attacks on several different targets, the date is the easiest way to refer to it.

ivylass
09-03-2006, 03:45 PM
Is that's why we're referring to the London bombings as the July 7th attacks? And the Madrid bombings are referred to as the date too, if I'm not mistaken.

Colibri
09-03-2006, 03:51 PM
Is that's why we're referring to the London bombings as the July 7th attacks? And the Madrid bombings are referred to as the date too, if I'm not mistaken.

I have not seen them referred to that way. In the case of London, since there have been at least a couple of plots, the date serves to distinguish them.

ivylass
09-03-2006, 03:53 PM
I've seen a couple of references to them as the July 7th London attacks. It's getting depressing when there's so many attacks we have to separate them by date (October 12 Bali Bombing is another one that comes to mind.)

GorillaMan
09-03-2006, 04:02 PM
'London bombings' is common enough, but in the long term may not be a useful term to distinguish it from all the other bombs in London in the past decades, from everything from the IRA to lone homophobes. '7/7' gets used occassionally, clearly in a mimicry of '9/11', and personally I hate it.

Regarding '9/11', I suspect it's a combination of the various reasons suggested, and it just became a title by default. And it seems to be accepted by various style guides, although they may suggest preference for alternatives, such as the Times: "9/11 is permissible, but please try to use the full date elsewhere for clarification, eg, 'the events of September 11, 2001'".



Re. the OP - 'D-Day' was used at the time as an official term (mind you, I'm not sure if it was a military coinage or just a propaganda creation?) Pearl Harbour - good example, and maybe if 9/11 had been only an attack on the WTC, we'd refer to it differently.

GorillaMan
09-03-2006, 04:09 PM
'London bombings' is common enough, but in the long term may not be a useful term to distinguish it from all the other bombs in London in the past decades, from everything from the IRA to lone homophobes. '7/7' gets used occassionally, clearly in a mimicry of '9/11', and personally I hate it.

Regarding '9/11', I suspect it's a combination of the various reasons suggested, and it just became a title by default. And it seems to be accepted by various style guides, although they may suggest preference for alternatives, such as the Times: "9/11 is permissible, but please try to use the full date elsewhere for clarification, eg, 'the events of September 11, 2001'".



Re. the OP - 'D-Day' was used at the time as an official term (mind you, I'm not sure if it was a military coinage or just a propaganda creation?) Pearl Harbour - good example, and maybe if 9/11 had been only an attack on the WTC, we'd refer to it differently.

Fromage A Trois
09-03-2006, 04:25 PM
'7/7' gets used occassionally, clearly in a mimicry of '9/11', and personally I hate it.
Amen brother.

I have nothing else to add.

Chronos
09-03-2006, 04:45 PM
Re. the OP - 'D-Day' was used at the time as an official term (mind you, I'm not sure if it was a military coinage or just a propaganda creation?)As I understand it, before the Invasion of Normandy, "D-day" was a much more general term. It just meant the day on which some militarily-significant event would occur. Similarly, you can have H-hour and M-minute. I guess it just stuck for Normandy, because it was such a big event, which took so much prior planning, that there were a lot of people referring to it as "D-day".

GorillaMan
09-03-2006, 05:21 PM
As I understand it, before the Invasion of Normandy, "D-day" was a much more general term.
In the same way as 'ground zero' was, then.

Cartooniverse
09-03-2006, 05:31 PM
Since the name was used by the military pre-attack, D-Day is kind of out of the loop, isn't it?

The Tet Offensive wasn't a nickname applied years later, the action was called The Tet Offensive.

It seems that the naming was organic, and only later did things like the quoted style guides try to put some controls and a sense of consistency on it.

For example, the area of the World Trade Centers is not Ground Zero. I was there on September 11th and 12th, 2001 working as an EMT. The nomenclature used during the first two days was accurate in the world of Emergency Response. In the real world, in terms of responding to an M.C.I. ( Mass-Casualty Event ), the center of concentric circles of response and entry and exit is called the Hot Zone. ( Then warm zone, cool zone. ) This flow chart (http://www.nti.org/h_learnmore/cwtutorial/multimedia_05_01.html#pagetop) details where in the flow of events a Hot Zone is designated and what happens within and without it.

I suspect that if the non-fiction book entitled The Hot Zone (http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/0385479565/ref=sib_dp_pt/103-0456980-0391009#reader-link) did not already exist and have some serious notariety, that might well have been the nickname used to describe the area of decimation.

But, it did and does exist and Ground Zero became the de facto name for that area. The Pentagon hardly needs a nickname, and the crash site in Pennsylvania seems to be referred to by the name of the town nearby. ( Shanksville, PA). I always believed that Ground Zero was chosen because of the totality of the destruction in New York City- akin to the destruction post-Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

I believe there have been threads about the whole " Sept. 11th.... 9/11..... 911 " theory and how that date was chosen because in the USA, "911" is dialed in emergencies. ( The links for 9/11 threads are tough to suss out as far as which one talks about this theory. I searched, and hit nothing. Hmmm. ) Personally I've never gone along with any of those theories. I cannot imagine what made that the date, but 9/11--911 just seems too pat.

Harriet the Spry
09-03-2006, 05:58 PM
Referring to events by their dates is much more common in Spanish-speaking countries. For example, there are sometimes streets and such named after famous dates. One instance in particular that I remember is a hospital in Madrid named El doce de octubre, the twelfth of October. Interestingly, it was originally named El uno de octubre, the first of October, seemingly after the date it was founded. Sometime in the late '80s the name was changed to the 12th. The hospital's website is www.h12o.es

Another example is 9 de julio street in Buenos Aires, Argentina, named after their independence day.

It is also fairly common for movements/uprisings to be named after a date.

I don't know why the US adopted this convention for this particular event, but it is not uncommon globally.

tomndebb
09-03-2006, 09:57 PM
I'm going to vote for the scattered sites of the attacks, combined with the general lack of immediate warfare. Pearl Harbor distinguishes that specific attack from the attacks on the Philipines that occurred later the same day (but which appear on Western calendars as December 8 because of the intervening International Date line).

The WTC/Pentagon attacks (which is the nomenclature I tend to use) originated in multiple cities for the hijackings, then were carried out in NYC and D.C. with an additional aborted attack in the air over Pennsylvania. With no immediate follow-up attacks (as were initially feared), it was the date that stood out as the primary theme, not the locations.

The September 11 was certainly not chosen by the terrorists for its similarity to U.S. emergency phone numbers, (even in countries that may use 911, most of them would write the date 11/9), but that similarity almost certainly caught the public eye and reinforced the use of that date as the "name" of the event.
I seem to recall that there is a significance for al Qaida related to September 11, but I cannot remember what that might be and I have not found any evidence to support my vague memory.

RickJay
09-03-2006, 10:02 PM
Re. the OP - 'D-Day' was used at the time as an official term (mind you, I'm not sure if it was a military coinage or just a propaganda creation?) Pearl Harbour - good example, and maybe if 9/11 had been only an attack on the WTC, we'd refer to it differently.
"Harbor," it's a proper name, spelled with no U.

"D-day" was then, and still is today, a pretty common military term; it's used to simplify planning so that you can set your target dates even when you're not a hundred percent sure when the operation will actually start. The invasion of Normandy was not specifically scheduled for June 6; it could have happened on June 5, had the weather cooperated. So when planning something like that out, if you're deciding such-and-such a division has to take a position by the seventh day of the invasion you can refer to that time as "D+6" rather than messing around with a specific date that might change.

Cisco
09-03-2006, 10:14 PM
For the past 5 years I've wondered what we would call 9/11 if another attack happened on that date. I've often read that AQ likes to strike on significant dates, so it's not outside the realm of possibility that they would hit us on the anniversary of their most successful attack.

GorillaMan
09-04-2006, 01:54 AM
For the past 5 years I've wondered what we would call 9/11 if another attack happened on that date. I've often read that AQ likes to strike on significant dates, so it's not outside the realm of possibility that they would hit us on the anniversary of their most successful attack.
After every attack, it's possible to find wild speculation about the 'significance' of the date. However, the running theme through Al Qaeda attacks is that they could take place at any time, an unpredictability which would not be possible if they repeatedly chose genuinely-significant dates.

"Harbor," it's a proper name, spelled with no U.
Hmmm, good point, but in that case it's a force of habit because the Anglicised spelling tends to be used in schools. And perhaps reinforces the fact that 'Pearl Harbour' is, in that situation, being used as the name of the attack, and not of the location.

Nava
09-04-2006, 02:08 AM
For the past 5 years I've wondered what we would call 9/11 if another attack happened on that date. I've often read that AQ likes to strike on significant dates, so it's not outside the realm of possibility that they would hit us on the anniversary of their most successful attack.

What, they chose 7-7 because their religion forbade them coming to Sanfermines? Drinking isn't compulsory, they can come! So long as they don't blow anything up, that is :dubious:

Cisco
09-04-2006, 02:08 AM
After every attack, it's possible to find wild speculation about the 'significance' of the date. However, the running theme through Al Qaeda attacks is that they could take place at any time, an unpredictability which would not be possible if they repeatedly chose genuinely-significant dates.

I'm not saying that there was anything significant about 9/11 before it happened. I'm just commenting that:

-What will we call 9/11 if something else, especially something bigger, happened on that same date in the near future
-There have been a lot of news stories in the last 5 years about how AQ likes significant dates, especially anniversaries, and I believe that AQ has even stated that they'd like to hit us again on the anniversary, though I'd have to look around for a cite for that.

Cisco
09-04-2006, 02:09 AM
What, they chose 7-7 because their religion forbade them coming to Sanfermines? Drinking isn't compulsory, they can come! So long as they don't blow anything up, that is :dubious:
Huh?

Antonius Block
09-04-2006, 04:02 AM
Huh?I believe that Nava lives in -- or near -- Pamplona (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pamplona) (in Navarre / Navarra / Nafarroa (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Navarre) ), the principal site of the festival of San Fermin (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Fermin), best known worldwide for the Running of the Bulls. Although the festival runs for more than a week, the actual feast day of San Fermin is July 7. This was also the date of the 2005 London Underground bombings, and I would imagine that Nava's post was intended to play up the fact that Al-Qaida does not seem to choose dates that have local significance.

purely based on its importance as a "911" date].

Johanna
09-04-2006, 04:56 AM
On talk radio, I keep hearing the date of the attacks pronounced "Nine One One." Can't think of any other date where eleven is pronounced "one one."

Cartooniverse
09-04-2006, 08:59 AM
Interesting. I live in New York and listen to newsradio and talk radio broadcasting from NYC.

I only hear it said as " Nine-Eleven ". Nobody in their right mind would broadcast the phrase, " nine-one-one " over again for the same reasons that you don't say, " mayday mayday mayday mayday " over the air.

It can be confused for something else. Never have I heard anyone refer to it as " the events of nine-one-one" or " the attacks of nine-one-one ".

I'm not doubting you at all, I'm just pointing up the fact that in the city where it happened, few if any people refer to it in the manner that you hear talk radio people refer to it. If they are broadcasting from New York City, then clearly SOME folks call it that. I've never heard it as such.

Cartooniverse

GorillaMan
09-04-2006, 10:02 AM
-What will we call 9/11 if something else, especially something bigger, happened on that same date in the near future
We'll cope. IIRC, we one upon a time had 'the Gulf War' faught between Iran and Iraq. This became the 'first Gulf War' to distinguish it from the new one. Now these seem to be the 'Iran-Iraq war' and the 'Persian Gulf war'.

Napier
09-04-2006, 10:38 AM
Calling this event by the date "9/11" is also confusing and weird because in most of the world this date means November 9, which is also the Night of the Breaking Glass, arguably the beginning of the Holocaust.

GorillaMan
09-04-2006, 10:44 AM
Calling this event by the date "9/11" is also confusing and weird because in most of the world this date means November 9, which is also the Night of the Breaking Glass, arguably the beginning of the Holocaust.
I've never heard of anyone making that connection before! "9/11" is routinely used in the UK, and there's no confusion because it's not seen as a reference to a date, but to particular events on a specific day in 2001.

Johanna
09-04-2006, 03:41 PM
Cartooniverse, I think it isn't so much the radio announcers saying "nine one one" as the callers to the talk shows. Vox populi.

IntelInside
09-04-2006, 04:36 PM
Calling this event by the date "9/11" is also confusing and weird because in most of the world this date means November 9, which is also the Night of the Breaking Glass, arguably the beginning of the Holocaust.
I've only ever heard of it referred to as Kristallnacht. I know what it means in English, and I have never once heard of it referred to by the date.

Napier
09-04-2006, 08:55 PM
Uh... this is embarrasing, but I wasn't sure how to spell Kristallnacht. But I have heard of it referred to by the English name, and not just as an explanation.

IntelInside
09-04-2006, 09:16 PM
Uh... this is embarrasing, but I wasn't sure how to spell Kristallnacht. But I have heard of it referred to by the English name, and not just as an explanation.I didn't, either. I used Wiki as a spellchecker. ;)

Cartooniverse
09-04-2006, 10:02 PM
Cartooniverse, I think it isn't so much the radio announcers saying "nine one one" as the callers to the talk shows. Vox populi.

Ahh, mais ouis.

PastAllReason
09-04-2006, 10:39 PM
Re. the OP - 'D-Day' was used at the time as an official term (mind you, I'm not sure if it was a military coinage or just a propaganda creation?) Pearl Harbour - good example, and maybe if 9/11 had been only an attack on the WTC, we'd refer to it differently.

And the actual military name for the Normandy invasion was Operation Overlord, which does not seem to be the common/popular way to describe June 6th invasion.

GorillaMan
09-05-2006, 01:25 AM
And the actual military name for the Normandy invasion was Operation Overlord, which does not seem to be the common/popular way to describe June 6th invasion.
But doesn't D-Day refer to the first day of the actual invasion, whereas Operation Overlord also includes the preparations, and the subsequent days of landings and battles?

dalej42
09-05-2006, 08:22 PM
A radio station I listened to that day incorrectly reported that the significance of the date was related to the Camp David Accords (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camp_David_Accords)

I think the day was chosen as it was probably one of the lightest travel days of the year. Look at how few people were on the flights. It was a Tuesday, after the end of the summer travel season.

PastAllReason
09-05-2006, 08:30 PM
But doesn't D-Day refer to the first day of the actual invasion, whereas Operation Overlord also includes the preparations, and the subsequent days of landings and battles?
Fair enough. Yes, it does.