Last night I was running errands with my kids. Two things concerning memory stuck me as notable.
My kids are six and closer to three than two. We were waiting in the check-out line when I noticed that Miss V, a former pre-school teacher for my daughter (the six year old), was a couple of people in front of us. She was paying for a big bucket of paint and a couple of other things. I waved, and pointed out that Miss V was there, and both my kids took off to give her full body tackles/hugs. We talked, and my daughter told Miss V all about kindergarten.
Then Miss V. asked my son if he liked Christmas.
“I got presents, big trucks, and a boat”
“What was your favorite thing about Christmas?”
“I put the blue star on the tree with Daddy”.
We put our tree up almost a month ago, and he did put the blue star on top of the tree. This is the first time when I am sure that he accurately reported back a memory of more than a couple days old. He is transitioning from having a sense of memory/specific memories of gold fish, to building some permemant memories. I know my daughter has long term memories dating to roughly the same point before she turned three.
As we were driving home from the shopping center, we passed a regional transit bus. My son went happily ballistic about it as it was a big red bus and those are the best buses ever made. The transit buses have a marquee above the driver. There are three panels that each display for a couple of seconds in rotation. The bus route number and name is the first panel, a banal expression of support for our local sportsball teams is on the second panel, and the third panel was “Always Remember 9/11”
I am too young, but did we as a society have that type of messaging about Pearl Harbor in 1954? Our societal memories and memorialization of 9/11 can’t be health. It should not be forgotten but it should not be quasi-idealized to maintain a permament state of fear and uncertainty.