• Wed, Sep 11 - 3:21 pm ET

STFU Parents: How Not To Talk About 9/11 On Facebook If You’re A Parent

Every year on September 11th, Facebook users unite to “Never Forget” and pay tribute to those who lost their lives in 2001. It’s often a nice way for a network of people to feel connected and share memories, be they somber, reflective, or even uplifting. However, as the years pass by, many other things have happened (and will continue to happen) that are of significant importance, as well. Births, deaths, anniversaries, new milestones and occasions to remember — these are all worth mentioning on Facebook, too, maybe, or aren’t they? In my opinion, it’s all about how a person relays the information. I’ve seen a lot of 9/11 birthdayjackings over the years, and those almost never feel appropriate to me. Granted, my own mom’s birthday is today, so I understand the impulse to express joy and excitement, especially over a small child’s special day. But I’m still not convinced that most people are doing it right.

There’s no rulebook for how to act on social media on a holiday, even if that holiday is commemorating a tragic day in the not-too-distance past. I’m not going to say that a person shouldn’t reflect on the day for reasons other than the Towers. If you had a baby that day, got married, or even started a new job, by all means, share away! But maybe keep the thousands of lives that were lost out of your status update. Maybe don’t hijack a friend’s holiday tribute to write a unique tribute of your own. There are classy ways of posting about all of these things that don’t involve mentioning the reason this day is observed. We already know. And yet, despite that fact, some people choose to ignore that little voice saying, “Not now,” or, “Write it in a separate update.” It could be because they think it’s important to acknowledge the day so no one on Facebook will think they’ve somehow forgotten 9/11. Or it could be because they want their update to be seen, and they know if they mention 9/11 it will have a higher chance of showing up in users’ feeds. (Ahh, Facebook algorithms!) Or, it could just be that they’re self-obsessed mommyjackers. Take this example from two years ago that I never posted:

 stfu parents

See what I mean? In the words of Nat King Cole, that ain’t right.

Here are some other examples of ways parents use social media on September 11th to symbolically honor the day, along with a few other things:

1. To Show Off Their Cute Baby

STFU Parents

Tyler is a baby whose sole job in life right now is to be cute. Jenny is a mom who enjoys dressing up her baby on holidays. These two things work well together on MOST holidays, but I think this time she could’ve just used the Stars and Stripes ensemble for the Fourth of July. Yes, in a sense September 11th is a patriotic holiday, but really, Jenny’s just looking for an excuse to post pictures of her cute baby all dressed up. If anything, one image would’ve done the trick.

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  • Dorothy Petrillo Zbornak

    People can be clueless and say the most mindless crap. It’s irritating but the idiots outnumber the mindful people on FB.

    • Emily

      I read this in Dorothy’s voice. Try it! It’s awesome.

    • Dorothy Petrillo Zbornak

      :] I post comments from her pov. “Shady Pines, Ma!”

    • whiteroses

      OT, but you have the best screen name.

  • keelhaulrose

    Is it so freaking hard to type out two statuses, maybe a couple hours apart?

    • Roberta

      Seriously. I wished my dad a happy birthday. I also did a “remember” status. Not at the same time people, it isn’t difficult!

    • whiteroses

      Exactly. I will either post nothing about it (or post nothing at all on the date) or I will post “Never Forget”.

      Look, life goes on, you know? People are and will be born on September 11th. They will have anniversaries and other great things go on.

      But to use the deaths of thousands of people to make yourself and/or your child look better, or to talk about your child, is extremely inappropriate. It’s not dissimilar, in my mind, to someone posting: “Sorry about your miscarriage, but my son turned four today!”. And when you multiply that one death with thousands? That just makes it more and more inappropriate, imho. You say “Sorry” and leave it at that.

    • pixie

      I didn’t post anything about it yesterday. I’m not very good at expressing solemn, reflective sentiments and every time I try, it always sounds fake or insincere.
      I did, however, post about my seven year anniversary with my boyfriend because it’s a pretty big deal that we’ve lasted this long (through most of high school and four years of university). I would never dream in a thousand years to write a combined status about 9-11 and our anniversary. That’s tactless and insulting. I also waited until the afternoon to post, giving the morning to those writing remembrance statuses.

    • whiteroses

      Exactly. And what you did is not tactless. I think that acknowledging the good things in life on 9/11 is extremely life-affirming. And it should be done.

      But there’s a right and a wrong way to do it. Statusjacking, posting pictures of your kids in patriotic colors “in remembrance of those who died”, and talking about little Sneauflaque’s potty training while tacking on a “Never Forget” leaves a very, very bad taste in my mouth, personally.

    • pixie

      Same here. I’m just glad I didn’t have any friends on my Facebook (that I saw) who did combined statuses or jacked other peoples’. I might have lost it. Not because I knew anyone who lost their life that day (I was 11 at the time and I’m in Canada) but because I’ve had the concept of respect bashed into my head from a young age.

    • keelhaulrose

      My second child was due on September 11th two years ago (so a decade), and I thought a lot about how I’d feel if she was actually born that day. I was a senior in high school, and we dropped everything to watch the coverage in class, so we were watching as the towers fell. I remember the terror and sadness, and I’ll admit I was scared to entwine the memories of that day with what would be such a happy day.

      Kids will be born on that day, people will get married, achievements will occur, but a lot of those events are more significant to the people directly involved, whereas 9/11 as a whole will be defined by that event for a nation for a while.

  • DMH

    *sigh* …I feel so disappointed in these people.

  • CMJ
    • Koa_Beck

      #RagingHard. Also, you go with your Bowie GIFS

    • CMJ

      I believe that gifs are the best thing that ever happened to me. (It’s a sad world I live in)

    • Carolyn Pigford

      I am SOOOO with you on that LOL…I just learned that I can even TEXT message someone a gif! Oh its on now gurrrrl!

    • Koa_Beck
  • Hibbie

    Maybe in the case of people like Brittany, they don’t want to come off as oblivious or ignorant of the date’s significance, so they feel obligated to mention it in some way. Although, that could be accomplished by making two different status updates.

    I don’t see the connection between Beau’s status and 9/11. He’s ripping off the rhyme for Guy Fawkes Day.

    • Sundaydrive00

      Because his status update on September 11th was to remember September 10th.

    • PaulineB

      Yes, but he still was just ripping off the Guy Fawkes rhyme. Maybe it was a little insensitive to do it on 9/11, but there’s no reason to believe that what he meant was, “Don’t remember 9/11, remember 9/10!” If his wife just had a baby the day before, he probably hadn’t slept in 48 hours. I can forgive him for having slightly bad timing.

  • Emmali Lucia

    Blair, do you guys celebrate your mother’s half birthday now instead of her birthday? I’ve heard of people doing that, or just doing it the day before or after.

    • CiaoAMS

      Take it from a girl who shares her birthday with Jesus — oh, hey, thanks for that Christmas/birthday gift — half birthdays suck. My parents tried it when I was a kid and I felt like the biggest phony. I was supposed to have been born on NYE, in which case the whole world would’ve partied with me. Oh well.

    • ALE515

      That’s strange. I have a cousin and some cousin in-laws born on X-mas eve and X-mas day. Yet, they got double everything! The x-mas gifts PLUS the birthday gifts. On top of that, their parents felt bad so they would spoil them even more, like a whole slew of birthday parties for each weekend. As a kid, I was super jealous.

    • CiaoAMS

      My family was AWESOME about it. Everyone else, not so much. The downside when you’re a kid with no earning potential other than a paltry allowance is having to wait an entire year to get the good stuff. Now my husband and I usually celebrate my birthday a few days before Christmas, and that’s just fine, because I can buy myself presents all year long. ;-)

    • CiaoAMS

      Also, I just realized I birthdayjacked this post about birthdayjacking 9/11. I didn’t mean to, I swear!!!

    • BarlowGirl

      Ugh, I’m 12 days before Christmas, I got the “but it’s so close to Christmas” presents or the “this is a birthday/christmas combination present!” YOU DON’T DO THAT TO KIDS WHOSE BIRTHDAYS ARE IN JUNE. YOU SEND A KID A BIRTHDAY PRESENT IN JUNE AND SAY IT’S FOR CHRISTMAS, TOO, YOU’RE CALLED A CHEAPSKATE.

      *cough* I might still be a little annoyed about that. But just a little.

      Also I wouldn’t consider it double, myself. One is birthday. One is Christmas. You don’t consider the June kid’s birthday as “double” Christmas present, right?

    • Emmali Lucia

      I had half birthdays because my birthday is August 12th and EVERYONE’S on vacation on August 12th. It was never a really big thing, and sometimes the people who didn’t give me birthday presents scoffed at the idea of giving me half birthday presents (Cheap rat-bastards!). But overall I usually had fun, we’d go to a pizza parlour with my pals and all that.

    • CiaoAMS

      You must live in Europe? The half birthday just never felt real to me as a little kid.

  • Aubrey

    *facepalm*

  • Dasher11

    It’s bad enough when some jerk tries to merge two of these thoughts together on their OWN facebook, but I can’t even comprehend how goddamn self-centered you have to be to hijack someone else’s somber status update. What in the absolute fuck is wrong with you?

  • Madame Ovaries

    Am I the only one who thinks the last one really doesn’t have anything to do with 9/11? I think this is either a V for Vendetta nerd or, more unlikely, an English history nerd. I think he just figured out that the rhyme kind of worked and HAD to share. Might still be fair grounds for STFU, but he may actually not have been referencing 9/11 at all.

    • Emily Clocke

      He’s turning a 400-year-old rhyme into a sweet happy birthday for his daughter. I don’t think it has a single thing to do with 9/11 at all.

    • Madame Ovaries

      Exactly. I see no reason that kids born in any season ought ever be forgot.

    • Sundaydrive00

      I think its more that someone’s news feed was filled with Never Forget September 11th, and then there is Beau saying and don’t forget my daughter was born yesterday!

    • Paul White

      Eh, I say let people with major life events celebrate them on 9/11. It was a horrible event but life does keep going on (well, not for 2900 people, but obviously, we’re not them).

    • Sundaydrive00

      I had a long explanation written, but I don’t expect you to get it. You seem to have just as much class as those in B’s examples. How low can you go making a joke about a tragedy and how people’s loved one’s are dead?

    • Paul White

      I’m not implying that you should make light of what did happen, but why shouldn’t I wish people a happy birthday, or celebrate an anniversary or whatever? That isn’t the same as joking about people dying.

      FFS, we don’t get on people for having happy status post on Pearl Harbor Day, or April 20th, or any number of other dates where horrible things happened.

      Something awful happened on 9/11/2001, but that doesn’t mean that is ALL we need to think about or all that’s appropriate to discuss on 9/11/13.

    • Sundaydrive00

      It has nothing to do with wishing someone a happy birthday, or a happy whatever. Its about being able to separate the two.

    • Paul White

      Sunday, this particular subthread was about a post concerning a birthday on Sept 10th that used a modified Guy Fawkes rhyme.

      I agree that I don’t like most merged statuses (Remember 9/11 and my baby!) but I’m not going to chap people for posting about happy events on 9/11.

    • Sundaydrive00

      Again, its about separating the two. While others are saying Remember September 11th, you don’t need to be the guy who is saying Oh yeah, but really remember September 10th, because you know my child was born on that day. Its just disrespectful to think that your child is so much more important then a national tragedy.

    • Sundaydrive00

      But from the downvote, maybe you’re not alone in thinking its not too soon for jokes about innocent people dying. Klassy!

    • meah

      I agree. I don’t think his status had anything to do with 9/11. In fact, considering the event on which the rhyme is based, I kind of read it as, “this baby is one day old, and I am so over my head that her birthday feels like a bunch of fireworks going off and huge bonfires raging in my head”… or maybe I’m projecting? :)

    • akat

      except that guy fawkes day was about a bombing; fireworks going off are not what the day is about

    • meah

      I know Guy Fawkes day is about a planned bombing 400+ years ago, but my experience is that today it is less somber and more “fireworks and bonfires”.

      My point is, I think it’s entirely possible that this guy was not referencing 9/11 at all, and was simply trying to be clever in talking about his new baby.

    • akat

      I actually thought this was the worst of the bunch. He’s using a rhyme about a terrorist attack on the anniversary of a terrorist attack in order to invoke the birth of his daughter the day before, making both terrorist attacks into a joke. That’s f-ed up.

    • Paul White

      eh, it’s a what, 450 year old attack that he probably doesn’t know jack about. It’s not great but I’m not particularly upset either. He probably got it from the V for Vendetta movie andk nows nex to nothing about Guy Fawkes.

  • Blueathena623

    There are some days, such as this one, where I just won’t post anything on Facebook at all. I don’t want to make an insincere post, but I also don’t want to make the day seem trivial to those who are mourning.

    • Janna

      Agreed. I gotta be honest a lot of the “remember” posts also come across as insincere or even a bit self-centered when they focus it on how they themselves will never forget watching TV 2,000 miles away. It was a scary and surreal experience for a lot of people in the states but I feel like an asshole pretending that by watching TV and letting the media psycho hype keep me scared and paranoid that I can understand how terrifying and sad it was for the people NYC. Still, I do mourn the way we used to be. I usually just find a link to someone who actually has a story to tell.

    • Ptownsteveschick

      Arg I am having to bite my fingers to keep from typing snarky responses to people here in Oregon, with no immediate family or friend ties to New York or DC posting where they were and that they will never forget what they were doing. As if “I was sitting in my 8th grade English class and we were all so afraid and watched the coverage on tv!” Puke, way to be super self centered people.

    • Emmali Lucia

      Well to be fair, I do think it was traumatic to people everywhere. I remember thinking that there was no telling how many places were going to be attacked.

    • Ptownsteveschick

      I can understand feeling that way then, I’m not saying I don’t remember being freaked out, but to still 12 years later talk about it like something actually happened to you when it didn’t, I think is self centered.

    • pixie

      I understand how you feel. There was a girl on my Facebook who posted a bunch of RIP, Never forget statuses, linked a bunch of videos and images, and basically spammed Facebook with 9-11 posts. That’s fine, I’m all for respecting the day, I know people who were in the US military at the time. What bothers me about this girl is that A) we’re in Canada (yes, it was frightening at the time up here, too. I remember being called in from gym class to watch the news reports that day when I was in grade 6) and B) the girl would have been 4 or 5 years old at the time. I understand she is trying to commemorate the day in her own way (whether or not she has the ulterior motive of trying to out-do all her other friends), but her posts come off as insincere because of how young she would have been. I was nearly 11 on 9-11 and even I don’t have the best recollection of that day. I was outside in gym class then the VP called us inside. That’s pretty well all I remember. I remember being afraid of terrorists, but I know it was nothing compared to how people in the US, especially NYC and DC felt.

    • whiteroses

      Yes. I don’t post about what I was doing on 9/11- because despite the fact that my dad was in the Pentagon the day before, 9/11 is not about me. Did it affect me? Sure it did. Every single American- every single compassionate human- who lived through 9/11 was affected by it in some way. And it’s a national day of mourning, as it should be. But I don’t understand the people who have to make the day about them. If nobody asked you where you were on 9/11, why would you even bring it up? For thousands upon thousands of people, it doesn’t go down in history as something horrible that happened. It’s one of the worst days of their lives. It’s the day that they lost someone personally who can never be replaced.

      I was eighteen at the time, and I remember feeling as if the world was ending. But it didn’t. To me, if you’re really going to honor the dead, you won’t do it by spreading hatred towards the Muslim religion, by copy and pasting gifs or chain statuses, or by taking a day that should be about solemn reflection and turning it into yet another day when you regale us about your child’s multiple accomplishments.

    • Muggle

      I hate those posts too, because they really are self-centered. Most Americans were not in New York that day, and did not see for themselves what happened. I was hundreds of miles away in North Carolina. My school got locked down for a bit, but I didn’t know what was going on until I got home.

      I’ve been to Ground Zero, as well. It was 8 years after the fact. It was… surreal. But I’m still not going to act like I actually had any personal connection to the attacks themselves.

    • BettyMartin

      Agreed too. My husband lost his job because of 9/11, and we lived in California. I’ve often thought about the people in NYC…trying to get home, trying to find loved ones, children at school, not knowing what was going on or what would happen next or where. His job loss was NOTHING compared to what those people had to live through, and die through.

      My husband’s uncle had just married on the 9th of September and he and his new wife had gone to New York and New England for their honeymoon. We didn’t know where they were when the attacks happened and phone service was disrupted. It was days before we heard from them and knew they were alright, and then they had a heck of a time trying to get home again. A terrible inconvenience (at worst) compared to the people that were there.

    • Katherine Handcock

      I feel the same — sometimes there is nothing you can say, which may mean that there’s nothing you SHOULD say.

    • Paul White

      I wonder how long we’ll be that way?
      I usually still post a blurb on December 7th (Pearl Harbor) but I’m not butthurt when people post happy things on that day either. And I’m 90% sure that by 1951, people weren’t expected to act like they were still in deep mourning for it. Texans weren’t still mourning the Texas City disaster in 57 like this either. I don’t think it’s healthy at all.

    • Blueathena623

      I think 9/11 sticks out more than other major events because of the number of people killed, but more importantly because there is a feeling of a lack of closure. Even when Osama was killed, it wasn’t like people could sit back and think “ok, war on terror, done. Next item.” Plus the New York angle. Everyone loves New York. I feel really sorry for the people who lost loved ones at the Pentagon or Flight 93, because every Facebook status I saw only focused on New York and the twin towers. Still, I do feel bad that April 19th and 20th are basically ignored since events on those days, while not having the same number of casualties, really changed the culture of America as well.
      I think we will always be that way until there is another event that allows the next generation to have a “I’ll always remember where I was” event. Its like when JFK was shot or the Challenger explosion.
      All that being said, I still think its daft that people with no connection to the event all change their icons and cover photos and write long-winded posts that basically amount to “I was in 6th grade. The teacher told us. We continued with class.”

    • EcnoTheNeato

      Also why this is different: Internet

    • Blueathena623

      Forgot to add, not doing an edit — I don’t do Pearl Harbor, but I do Veterans Day posts because my dad is one, and those men and women deserve to be honored.

    • BettyMartin

      I think it’s because we aren’t used to this in our great country. Other countries have terrorist bombings so often that they seem commonplace, while we haven’t had a major war or invasion in our country since 1865 when the Civil War ended.

    • Persistent Cat

      I don’t post anything because news flash, we were ALL upset and horrified by what happened. I roll my eyes at all the “remembering….” statuses. No you’re not, you’re writing a meaningless status and then playing Candy Crush.

  • grumpy_otter

    I’m never coming to this website again–6 clicks for one article with a popup on each one?

    • Persistent Cat

      Clicking is hard.

  • Annie

    Today is my parents’ anniversary as well. Bummer.

    I love that it’s already becoming a Memorial Day-style sales fest.

  • PrairieCoast

    Wait…Sept. 11 is considered a holiday?

    • AP

      Patriot Day, it’s a small national day of remembrance in the US.

      Not to be confused with Patriot’s Day, which is the anniversary of the Battle of Lexington and Concord as celebrated in the New England states. The Boston Marathon is also held annually on Patriot’s Day, so it’s also the anniversary of that bombing.

    • PrairieCoast

      Ah, okay, thanks for the info. (I’m not in the US, obviously!)

    • EcnoTheNeato

      Also unofficial (to an extent) it should be noted. Yes flags will be at half-mast, but even banks and post offices will be open.

      More of a national anniversary or, dare I say, day of remembrance, than an actual factual official holiday :-x

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  • samsi96

    I hate when people do this. It’s fine to celebrate a birthday (or anniversary, etc.) even if it’s on 9/11, but there’s no need to remind everyone how special!!! your day is and make an insincere comment about the terrorist attacks in the same breath.

    (Also…I hope this isn’t a STFU worthy remark, but I thought the photo in #2 is really beautiful…in a solemn sort of way.)

  • h

    The special-day-for-you on a tragic-day-for-many is always tricky. You can’t control when babies are born, and labor just might happen on 9/11. Even for scheduled c-sections – those are just that, scheduled, and that date might work best for where a woman is at in her pregnancy combined with logistics of the hospital, etc. 9/11 was people’s wedding anniversary long before the attacks ever happened (after the fact, except for maybe 2002, that one can be avoided, but I digress). I would certainly never begrudge anyone the celebration of a birthday or anniversary just because it happens to fall on a certain day. Even within one family, my cousin was born on the one year anniversary of my uncle’s passing (not cousin’s dad, different uncle) and nobody refuses to celebrate his birthday because it is also a sad day in the family. You can celebrate and mourn two separate things.

    That being said, it is different to relate something you had no specific connection to with something in your life. Yes, we as Americans were all affected even if we were not personally connected to anyone who was killed that day. I know I was. But being affected as a citizen of America is not the same thing as being affected as someone who lost somebody. If it was a post like “this is a sad day for us because 12 years ago we lost Bob, but we also celebrate the birth of Susie 5 years later” it would be poignant, but not when it is one personal thing vs one national thing.

    As I’ve said before, I think some of these posts come from a fear of appearing rude to post about just your child (or anything else good) on a tragic day, so people add it as a sort of disclaimer. But the truth is that there are only 365 days in a year. The best day of your life is the worst of someone else’s, and vice versa.

    That being said, posting about something like a due date when the baby wasn’t actually born for another week, or a milestone years ago, is not the same as celebrating a birthday or anniversary. It is making the tragedy about you.

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