Academic journal article Southern Cultures

Rebels in the Wake of 9-11: Homecoming Weekend in Oxford, Mississippi, October 2001

Academic journal article Southern Cultures

Rebels in the Wake of 9-11: Homecoming Weekend in Oxford, Mississippi, October 2001

Article excerpt

Grief, fear, pride, love, sympathy, courage, anger, hate. The attacks of 9-11 provoked a mix of simple and complex emotions as our country entered a new era. Americans suddenly found themselves in the middle of a war of a different sort. Enemies were not distinguished by national borders or a formal army. Success, it seemed, might never be declared for fear of relaxing defenses. The adversary in the War on Terror seemed more like a looming, indefatigable abstraction than a tangible foe.

Katy Vinroot O'Brien captured America's first footsteps onto this new unsteady ground during the University of Mississippi's Homecoming Weekend in Oxford. A few short weeks after the 9-11 attacks and just days after the first U.S. bombings in Afghanistan in October 2001, she not only snapped scenes of Ole Miss's annual celebration, she also photographed moments from a country in flux. The usual terrain of southern homecoming celebrations--cheerleaders rahrahhing, smartly clad members of the homecoming court soaking up the crowd, mothers and babies at parade's edge, hastily built fraternity floats- contrasts with markers of heightened national pride and sudden, uncomfortable transformation. …

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