Remembering 9/11 and Flashbulb Memories

On the morning of September 11, 2001, somewhere between 8:30 am and 9:30 am (Texas time) I learned that our nation had been attacked. I was in 8th grade at the time. I had just walked into the school library. As I was walking down the long aisle you had to pass in order to get to the book collection, I noticed one of the librarians had the television on (which was unheard of) and was standing right below it watching the Today Show. On the screen, I remember vividly seeing a skyscraper in New York on fire. I also remember seeing this librarian crying, and I said, “What’s wrong?” She just shook her head. The rest of the day and following weeks our teachers regularly had their big screen classroom televisions on; although, they never talked about it or explained what was going on. Although I knew that our nation had been attacked and remembered seeing many things change, it was many years until I really understood what happened. Even though I didn’t understand what happened, somehow I unconsciously knew that it was one of those truly once-in-a-lifetime moments. This “flashbulb memory,” as psychologists call it, is still a very vivid memory and one with memories of the confusion an 8th grader felt.

Where were you and what were you doing when you found out the news on 9/11?

As we reflect back on 9/11, over a decade ago now (seems impossible, doesn’t it?), let’s remember both how much the world has changed since 9/10/01 (and before) and how much it has remained the same.