Why We Remember

Shafer is critical of 9/11 coverage. Ryan Sager counters:

[W]hy do we pull the memory of 9/11 out of a box once a year, as a nation, and run our fingers over it? Not to advance the story. Not to deepen our understanding. But to keep the memory accessible. To make sure we know where it is. To remember where we were that day. To trigger little details that might be lost forever if we don’t touch them again this year.

Is this an unequivocally good thing? Too much memory can be a bad thing; rumination seems to be a key factor in depression and PTSD. But within the normal range, there’s nothing wrong with ruminating on the sad events in one’s life in fact, it’s much healthier than the alternative of actively trying to repress the ugliness of the past.

So, as 9/11 becomes more distant, and you ask yourself why we should bother remembering at all, remember this: We don’t remember to learn; we don’t remember to stay angry; we don’t remember to keep from moving on; we remember because we’re human, and that’s how we process our world and keep from coming unmoored.

I'm with Ryan. And I mourn those friends and a neighbor who died as well.