On the morning of September 11, 2001, exactly at 9:22 a.m., I woke up to start my day and turned my television on. Instantly, Fox News had reported that a commercial plane had smashed into the Twin Towers of New York City, just minutes earlier. While the story was certainly shocking, I wanted to know more and watched the horrific aftermath unfold, as it continued to happen. I remember an incredible feeling of sadness that I could do nothing to help the people in these buildings, as well as a great concern that more attempts could be made to create further tragedy elsewhere.
As time went on that morning, sketchy pieces of information about rescue plans and other efforts came to light; screen shots of the downtown devastation permeated the air waves and it instantly appeared that we, as a nation, were never prepared for such an event. Why was this happening? Will there be other attacks? If so, will they be near me or my family? These were some of the questions I asked myself before many of the facts became known over the days, months, or even years ahead.
To this day, I can remember laying back and watching the coverage of the buildings burning and massive clouds of debris dust overpowering the streets and sky. Especially, I recall the news anchor announcing that New York City was under attack, and how this day would forever change our ways of life, from that day forward. The most memorable part of all, however, had to be watching the video of the second plane hitting the last tower, which occurred minutes after the initial attack. This image, along with the empathy for the people who were in the towers at the time and their families, will definitely last a lifetime.
How vivid is this memory today?
Although the terrorist attacks of The Twin Towers happened many years ago, I can still vividly remember certain parts of it. As mentioned earlier, for example, the images of the second plane flying into the building will surely stay with me; however, smaller details of the incident, which have become generalized over the years, are not nearly as clear or in order like they were on the day they happened. This is not at all surprising, since according to Perina (2002), flashbulb memories “do, in fact, degrade over a short period of time” (para. 1). The extent to which these events fade or change in our thoughts can vary in degree, and is generally believed to be directly proportionate to a person’s level of involvement in the events that occurred.
How accurate is this memory now?
Although, according to my recollections, much of that morning seems to be more precisely recorded and recalled than other events I have experienced, further indications are that this may not be so, for “research shows that… supposed flashbulb memories are not necessarily any more accurate than other memories” (ScienCentral, 2007, para. 6). To easily illustrate these findings, minor details, which were a part of my...