Robert Bateman: Historian pleads for people to write down their memories of 9-11

Historians in the News

Each of us has our own story about where we were and what we were doing on that bright September day seven long years ago. "Where were you?" is a question that will follow everyone who was alive and sentient at the time. We will tell our stories to our grandchildren and our great-grandchildren, and each story will be unique. Together, however, these fragments constitute a whole. A mosaic of personal tales which, taken together, will help future generations understand.

I will put on my historian's hat for a moment to tell you that reassembling the mosaic that can explain the people of the past to those of the present is not simple or easy. It is all the more difficult when the shards are wildly inconsistent. But it is downright impossible if you do not have at least something to work with. I know this from experience. I fear this for the future. Please, then, bear with me as I wax a tad pedantic in this entry.

I would like to ask something of you, and I hope that you promulgate this request as well. Take some time out today and write your account of what you saw, heard, felt, said and thought on Sept. 11, 2001.

I do not ask this for my benefit. Indeed, it is not even necessarily for someone you know. Really, you are doing this for an anonymous somebody 100, or 300, or perhaps even 500 years in the future. You may be related to that person, you may not, but your memories are important.

Humanity builds upon the past. This is a part of what makes us human. The ability to pass on complex thoughts, ideas, memories, is very much a part of what makes our species different. We do not know, we cannot know, what will follow us in the centuries to come. But we can, in some small way, contribute to their humanity by recording, for them, our own....
Read entire article at Robert Bateman in the WaPo

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