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

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

by Katy Vinroot O'Brien
Southern Cultures, Vol. 11, No. 1: Spring 2005

"The usual terrain of southern homecoming celebrations—cheerleaders rah-rahhing, smartly clad members of the homecoming court soaking up the crowd, mothers and babies at parade's edge, hastily built fraternity floats—contrast with markers of heightened national pride and sudden, uncomfortable transformation."

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.