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When Memory Isn’t a Choice

September 9, 2011

I have soaked up each Facebook status update, each blog post, each tweet, and each news article that mentions how Americans are “choosing to remember 9/11.” Each one has added to my awe at memory’s power. I have also felt the need to respond with a plea, but none of those venues seemed the right space. And so here I am, with a general response, saying this: As you consider plans for Sunday, please also choose to remember those who, because of their direct traumatic experience on 9/11/01, cannot choose to remember. Their traumatic memory chooses for them. Many Americans, in New York, D.C., or elsewhere, will experience grief on Sunday. And there are those whose lives were most directly affected, but have “worked through” grief and traumatic memories and can script their own time on Sunday. But there are still those who can’t, those whose PTSD symptoms remain. Those who, ten years after the event, still wake to its sounds, still have flashbacks at unpredictable times. Those who remain at the mercy of their memories. A New Yorker who was here, teaching elementary school in the village, on 9/11, I have much to think about, and much to remember, on Sunday. I will be conscious that I have that choice, and I will keep in mind those who don’t.

Links:

The Library of Medicine’s entry for PTSD.

An article on proximity to Ground Zero and PTSD.

Ongoing panic attacks for transit workers.

Ongoing PTSD symptoms in firefighters.

The Huffington Post on Psychological First Aid, an approach to PTSD prevention.

From → Uncategorized

3 Comments
  1. Amen. I am so glad to read this post. I don’t need any help remembering, nor do I appreciate the at-large insistence that I “should” remember any particular thing. It’s personal. Back it off, people.

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Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. PTSD Nation: 9/11′s Health Consequences For Us All « Alternative Health Answers
  2. PTSD Nation: 9/11′s Health Consequences For Us All « Alternative Health Answers

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