Masculinity and Nation: Tragedy,
Sport and the Transnational
Mary G. McDonald
On September 11, 2001 three hijacked commercial airplanes intentionally crashed into the World Trade Center's (WTC) North and South Towers, and the US Pentagon igniting all three structures and a global media event. Immediate television coverage from the US was extended to many parts of the world transmitting horrific images of the death and devastation, as well as desperate, often heroic attempts by firefighters, police and other public safety officials to rescue survivors. These images and additional stories documenting the death toll of approximately 3,000 people, traumatic emotional aftermath on the part of victim's friends and families, the immediate negative economic impact (especially on New York City) and public mourning over the dead were subsequently rebroadcast innumerable times. While analogies in the US were drawn from public memory to December 7, 1941 when the Japanese military attacked Pearl Harbor, it soon became apparent that the recent attack within the US's geographical boundary was different. Aimed at the symbols of global corporate capitalism and the US's influential, often militarized contributions in its development, the offensive was not the work of a recognized nation-state but that of Al-Qaeda, a militia network with central operations in Afghanistan under the leadership of Osama bin Laden.
Worldwide and local US responses prior to, during and after September 11 were multi-faceted and multi-layered rearticulating conflicting and fractured geographic, political and economic sensibilities.1 Additionally as a global media event, frames of meaning were constantly remade, so much so that events before, on and beyond September 11 are not simply mere representations of what happened, but rather forces that help to construct “the reality of the event that