Name for Sept. 11 events

I’ve been bothered by the nomenclature used for what happened on September 11th. It’s been called a disaster, a tragedy, the attack, even the incident, however to me those terms don’t quite fit. Those terms are too dry and not descriptive enough. Calling it the WTC disaster doesn’t do justice to those that died at the Pentagon or on the jet that was crashed in Pennsylvania. Further, to me the terms “disaster” and “tragedy” aren’t sinister enough; they lack the connotation of the enormous malice aforethought that accompanied the attack.

We need a short descriptive name for what happened. For instance, the short phrases “sneak attack” and “Pearl Harbor” have come to be associated with the Japan’s attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on December 7th, 1941.

As a public service I suggest that the events of September 11, 2001 be forever known as the “September 11th Massacre.”

What are the Dopers thoughts? If you’ve got a better name, suggest it and then let’s see about getting it put into wide and accepted public use.

I’ll steal from The Onion and nominate Holy Fucking Shit Day.

Yes, the language is rather coarse, but given the gravity of the situation…

September 11th Attack
September 11th Terrorist Attack
Attack of September 11th
Terrorist Attack of September 11th.

Really, why do we need to be clever? Just call it what it is.

I can’t believe rjung beat me to it. You lousy bastid.


In repsponse to the OP, I’ve taken to calling Sept. 11, 2001, The Day the Sky Fell.

Black Tuesday

This is one of those rare events where the word “massacre” is too much of an understatement. A massacre is caused by a common machete-wielding criminal who kills one or two dozen people. I also agree that “tragedy” is more appropriate for an accident or natural disaster. I would call this an aerial attack, henceforth to be known as “AA-911”.

Yeah, “massacre” to me brings up images of hand-to-hand combat. Guys with swords beheading babies and whatnot.

I don’t know what to properly call it. I’ve just been saying, “the terrorist attack” or “(awkward pause) …what happened on September 11.”

I can’t think of any word that encompasses the magnitude of the event and the relative aloofness of the attackers.

I vote for some sad and poetic name, like “The Day the Sky Fell” or “Black Tuesday,” because rational, concrete words like “massacre” or “tragedy” etc., just don’t work for this kind of horror.

I wonder how people referred to the Pearl Harbor attack at the time? Nowadays you just have to mention “Pearl Harbor” and everyone knows what you’re talking about. (In general I doubt people would know of anything else that happened there)

I think history (and the accumulated stories of the mass media) will coin a term for 9/11/01. Perhaps something as simple as “World Trade Center” - unfortunately, I think future generations will only know of the WTC through what happened on 9/11. I can envisage news stories and media reports in 10 years referring to a “World Trade Center-like attack”, in the same way that someone referred to this event as “Another Pearl Harbor”.

How about “the awakening” - the day that we all realised that whatever divides us, our humanity unites us. Do we really HAVE to give this event a negative label?

This has been an issue since the beginning, part of the reason being the very nature of the attack itself. I’ve noticed since the start people on telelvision struggling to avoid calling it a “bombing”, because of course it wasn’t. A “planing”, perhaps?

I think the date will figure prominently. And be pronounced “nine-eleven”. My little prediction.

People tend to go for simplicity. Despite the fact that it doesn’t honor the Pentagon or Flight 93 victims, something WTC is likely to emerge as the common name.

Did anyone notice the blurb on the Onion front page “Pentagon attacked, Page 14”? How true.


This has been bothering me too. I hear about how “people are missing from the events of September 11th.” We’re not talking about those who got lost at an outdoor rock concert!

They were “evil attacks” and the people are “dead.”

I’m in agreement with several posters here: “tragedy” and “disaster” give the wrong connotations. I have taken to calling it “The Outrage”.

I (and many of my friends) are simply referring to it as “9-11” or “the 9-11 attacks.” In print, I usually type it as “9-11” or “9.11.” I just can’t find a sutible “name” that invokes the same response. Someone saying nine-one-one doesn’t trigger anything, but hearing “nine-eleven” brings back thoughts of it…

-Psi Cop

I think simply September 11th is enough for most people, and will probably win out. “9-11” is a bid too cute, and doesn’t have much double entendre value outside North America.

I wonder was The Onion inspired by the video of the first WTC attack, in which the municipal workers progress from “Holy Shit!” and “Shit!” to “Holy FUCKING SHIT!” ?

I vote for “The Two Planes Hit and Collapsed the World Trade Center Twin Towers While Another Crashed Into the Pentagon and Yet Another Crashed in Pennsylvania Day.”

It probably will go down as the “Trade Center Attack.” The Pentagon and Flight 93 will be footnotes in the textbooks. 9-11 is a possibility, but I hope not. They only thing that would tell us is that the date was just a random date, but then again, that tells us something.

It will also cause slight confusion in many of those same countries outside North America. Many (not us, I for one have been accustomed to it through its use on the SDMB, but history students in the future) might see it and think “November 9th”.

I will always think of it as Terrible Tuesday.

I call it the Atrocity.

How about “The Abomination.”