I remember being a kid and hearing my mom and dad tell me stories of the things they remembered from their childhoods.
The day Kennedy was shot was a big one for both of them.
There was a church down the street from where my mother grew up, in Arlington, that burned down. When we’d drive by it to go to my grandmother’s house, we’d hear stories about how she stood diagonally across the street, on the corner, and watched it burn down when she was a kid. I want to say that she said that happened in 1963 or 1964. But she still remembered it so vividly.
It’s strange how the human brain works sometimes. The things you remember, the things you forget.
Our generation will tell their kids all about where they were on this day, thirteen years ago. How they woke up to chaos and panic, worrying about someone they knew and loved in New York, hoping for the best.
They’ll remember April 15th, 2013. They’ll talk about how they watched the news all day long, how their out of town friends and family called or texted or Facebooked to check in on them. How they watched the manhunt progress well into the evening, glued to the television or looking out their doors to see what was happening.
It’s unfortunate that we choose to remember the tragic and terrible things that happen and don’t focus on the good things. We remember some happy times, but it seems the bad ones are the most vibrant in our memories. We remember the 9/11s, the marathon bombings, the wars overseas, the Pearl Harbors, the presidential assassinations.
Do we remember the happier times? Do we remember falling in love for the first time? Driving after getting your license? Your first promotion? Where’s the cutoff point of what you remember?
We remember death, we remember new life. We remember the way the sun reflected off of the first winter snow, shining through your bedroom window to wake you up in hopes you wouldn’t have school that day.
Most importantly, we remember those that gave their lives on September 11th. We thank them for their sacrifice, we thank them for giving up their everything to race in, try to help, and try to protect others. Our country wouldn’t be as great as it is, if it weren’t for people far braver, far better, far stronger than I.