Remembering an event, a person, or place requires placement in the retrievable section of the brain, much like in a computer. Most of us know what’s important to store for retrieval in our computers, storage cabinets, and our brains. Storage in our brain is a process of the conscious knowing what is important. The soft touch of your baby is always there. A particular place where you felt at peace with the universe may also be stored quite safely, never to be forgotten. We hope we are storing mostly beautiful or touching memories; but not all important memories are favorable memories.
We store other memories that were frightening when experienced. Why would we want to remember frightening memories? Perhaps because their memories will keep us safe in the future by guiding our thoughts and behaviors. Today on 9/11, I remember the horror of planes attacking the twin towers in NYC. I was at work in my office at the Springfield Parking Authority when a colleague called me into the break room to view what she called ‘the unimaginable.’ I only saw the second plane dive into the building. At first, we thought we must be seeing things. Was this some horrible joke on us? Maybe it was a Sci-Fi film. That thought lasted about ten seconds. Then we knew! Our country was being attacked in the ‘Big Apple.’
The attacks in NYC, Washington D. C. and the subsequent crash of a plane with its passengers and staff fighting back MUST ALWAYS BE REMEMBERED. These attacks occurred eighteen years ago. Eighteen years is a long time period. Students in grade school and high school today did not witness the attacks and may think of them as just dry events in history. We have the memories. We must share their import. We must not forget the United States was targeted by a fanatical religious ideology. An ideology spreading today and ready to attack us again.
Memories are important even horrible memories especially if they keep us aware of danger ahead.
K. B. Pellegrino, Author