A flashbulb memory is “a highly vivid and detailed ‘snapshot’ of a moment in which a consequential, surprising, and emotionally arousing piece of news was learned,” according to simplypsychology.org.
I didn’t actually need to Google the definition, but I did anyway just to be sure that when I say the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 are a flashbulb memory for me, I know what I am talking about.
I remember every single detail of that morning. My 2-year-old first son and I watched “Barney” on PBS on the upstairs bedroom TV. My mother called – like so many mothers that morning – and said, “Turn on The Today Show.” I clicked over just in time to see the second plane add to the destruction of thousands more lives.
My eyes fill with tears even now 20 years later.
My son popped blueberries into his mouth, carefully rolling each one between his fingers in a tactile inspection, as I held my mother silent and close to me, both of us speechless on the phone.
“How could that happen,” she finally said.
“It’s a terrorist attack,” I said, the jump to a worst case scenario an easy one for my mind.
“That can’t be,” she said, holding on … holding on to the impossible, the unimaginable that was supposed to stay safely undefined.
“Zatza plane?” my son pointed at the screen.
I turned off the TV.
I know I am not alone in remembering where I was and what I was doing and who I was with that sad September day 20 years ago.
The Lincoln County News this week takes a look back at the events of what we now all refer to as “9/11,” in a retrospective that begins on Page 14A. I am proud to now belong to a community that did so much to help in the aftermath of the World Trade Center attacks.
“What you do matters.” That’s a slogan on a postcard I picked up at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. in June 2016 when I was a chaperone for my second son’s Bath-Area Family YMCA’s annual Freedom Tour for eighth graders.
I think of it now as I proof the pages of this issue of The Lincoln County News.
It was a group of committed people from our small quiet county in Maine that made a huge difference in a big city in the aftermath of the traumatic events of 9/11.
Keep reaching out, Lincoln County, to lend a hand across many miles.
But even more importantly, remember to turn to each other, too, neighbor to neighbor, stranger to friend.
What you do matters. In every moment, and each exchange.