Essay Long-term Recall of Traumatic Experiences

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On the morning of September 11, 2001, exactly at 9:22 a.m., I woke up to start my day and turned my television on. Instantly, Fox News had reported that a commercial plane had smashed into the Twin Towers of New York City, just minutes earlier. While the story was certainly shocking, I wanted to know more and watched the horrific aftermath unfold, as it continued to happen. I remember an incredible feeling of sadness that I could do nothing to help the people in these buildings, as well as a great concern that more attempts could be made to create further tragedy elsewhere.
As time went on that morning, sketchy pieces of information about rescue plans and other efforts came to light; screen shots of the downtown devastation permeated the air waves and it instantly appeared that we, as a nation, were never prepared for such an event. Why was this happening? Will there be other attacks? If so, will they be near me or my family? These were some of the questions I asked myself before many of the facts became known over the days, months, or even years ahead.
To this day, I can remember laying back and watching the coverage of the buildings burning and massive clouds of debris dust overpowering the streets and sky. Especially, I recall the news anchor announcing that New York City was under attack, and how this day would forever change our ways of life, from that day forward. The most memorable part of all, however, had to be watching the video of the second plane hitting the last tower, which occurred minutes after the initial attack. This image, along with the empathy for the people who were in the towers at the time and their families, will definitely last a lifetime.
How vivid is this memory today?
Although the terr...

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...These specifics recalled consist of things which, under normal conditions, we probably would not have ever remembered. The number of detailed facts retained about a particular situation is usually commensurate to the intensity of involvement or proximity to the action in question; therefore, it can be reasonably concluded that while these memories are not always perfectly engrained into our minds, interesting arguments exist which support the possibility of substantial and long-term recall of these matters.

Perina, Kaja. (2002, Mar 01). Hot On The Trail Of Flashbulb Memory
Retrieved June 05, 2010, from
ScienCentral Archive. (2007, Sept 07). 911 Flashbulb Memories. Retrieved May 27, 2010 from

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