Generational Memories

Hardly a generation goes by where certain generational scars exist. Scars that will haunt them for the rest of our lives.  A memory woven into the culture, a garish red thread against the tasteful tapestry of our lives.

Just in the 20th century we had WWI (the Great War), the Great Depression, the Hindenberg disaster, WWII, the Holocaust, the Korean conflict, the Vietnam War, Desert Storm, September 11, 2001 just to name a few.  The people who lived through these events, lived history.  Their lives forever impacted, their children bearing the burden of the events.

How we react, process and live are testaments to the kind of people we are.  Each memory giving rise to generational voices that tell stories, shape policy and mold our lives.

In my life, I have been affected by many different things.  They all impacted me and molded my personal voice and my viewpoint on the world.

  1. I witnessed the fall of the Berlin Wall – I was living in Portugal at the time and I happened to witness the momentous event live of the statue of Lenin being torn from its moorings.  Watching people scrabble through the rubble at an opportunity to break apart the barrier that had separated the city of Berlin.  The sight of Lenin toppling profoundly affected me.
  2. The Bombing of Murrow Building in Oklahoma City – April 19, 1995 – I was sitting in my mother’s kitchen talking about stuff.  The television was on but muted.  I looked up to see black smoke billowing across the screen. A scene of carnage was revealed as the smoke shifted due to winds. The gaping gash in the Murrow Building left me speechless.  It was our own fellow Americans who perpetrated the crime.
  3. The year 2001:  This year was brutal from a personal standpoint.  In February, I lost my father to a debilitating illness.  Exactly six months later on September 11, 2001, the United States of America had it’s first act of terrorism on its own soil.   I was living in Utah as the time, my mother just outside of DC.  As always I got to the office early to set up for my day listening to NPR.  When the first reports came in of the planes striking the World Trade Center Towers, the heroic actions of Flight 93, and the impact at the Pentagon, I remember weeping.  A crowd surrounded my desk the entire day.

Each of these events impacted our way of thinking, the way we conducted our lives and, in some cases, caused a pall of fear to rule lives.

Why do I bring all of this up?

Tomorrow is the 10th anniversary of September 11, 2001.  As a country, our innocence was stripped, our eyes opened as a nation.

As a creative individual, I learned to write with a different focus.  I have hope that our world can be better.  That hope colors what I write.

As difficult as the events are that scar our psyche, we are strong enough to come out better on the other side.

Better people, friends, family members and writers.

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3 comments

  • Nicely written . . . to often the event itself overshadows the humanity of the moment. Thank you for giving such fitting tributes to these tragic events.

    • Thanks. I’d rather remember than forget events. Not obsess, but to understand its impact.

  • Pingback: The Great war? « Tyne Swedish : Unplugged

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