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  • I was watching a program about 9/11 and the memorials built to remember it and the speaker described it as being history that is still a part of current events, today - in 2013, and I was wondering, when does that shift from current to historic happen?

    The first significant event I remember understanding (there were others before it that I could not understand as well) was when the Berlin Wall fell. I was in ninth grade and studying communism, we received the news mid-day (this was before the internet so I'm not sure how the news made it to us, I suspect by someone's office radio) and all other subjects were set aside for the day, we talked only of this and what it would mean for the people experiencing it, I went home and the discussion continued.

    At some point the event lost centre stage and we spoke of it and thought of it less and less.

    I remember 9/11 as a similar experience for me, I did not know anyone personally, I saw and heard so much about it on the news and discussed it at length with people I know. For me 9/11 quickly passed into the category of an historic event.

    My children were born after 9/11, for them it is historic, it will be something to read in a text book one day just as the fall of the Berlin Wall will be.

    In the last several years of my own life there have been many significant personal events - funerals, divorce. Though "historic" does not seem to be the right word, the effects on my life were significant and the strong feelings lingered much longer than a globally historic event.

    Does how strongly we feel about an event define its status as a "current" event?

    For the survivors of any trauma, for every significant event we experience, that event continues to influence our current feelings for a very long time, in some cases, our entire lives. Yet still we refer to them as past or historical. We do our best to live in the present, to have hope for the future.

    I wonder if treating 9/11 a historic event as current, prolongs the strong feelings of loss? Vengeance? The fear of terrorism?



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