Trauma work entails not only the mending of physical and psychic wounds, but also the reconstruction of narrative structures. In the wake of September 11, there were, as Don DeLillo put it, “1000, 000 stories […] waiting to be told.” And yet, the nation chose to inscribe only a select few into the nation's collective memory. Ann Nelson's The Guys (2001), Neil LaBute's The Mercy Seat (2002), and Karen Finley's Make Love (2003) are paradigmatic examples of forming narrative memory in the American theater. The article shows how these dramatic narratives interact with their cultural context. It explores the ways in which these plays might speak to Judith Butler's concern for a proper ethical framing of traumatic memory, one that interlinks the mourning for the vulnerability of the self with an awareness of the vulnerability of others. So far, American theater has shown little interest in working out what Butler has called an “ethics of vulnerability.” It has frequently fallen back on either the celebratory affirmation of nationhood (Nelson) or its sarcastic questioning (LaBute). It is only in Finley's performance piece that we begin to see an attempt to move beyond such unilateral accounts of suffering.