Flashbulb Memories

Flashbulb memories are a quite interesting topic. We often forget moments in our past that take place on a daily routine but if something extraordinary or a tragic disaster takes place, it is hard to forget. That will always be a  memory that is almost burned into our minds. For an example id use September 11, 2011. Everyone knows what happened that day and the tragic toll it took on our country. Many people remember what they were doing and where they were when they heard the news. But for most people, the days leading into it and the days after are hard to remember. For me personally, the following day was another meaningful day in my life. My birthday falls on September 12. With almost an imaginary audience thinking I’d walk into my house with everyone cheering and getting me excited for tomorrow being my birthday,but  I walked into my house to find my dad and his coworkers sitting on the couch and watching the news. This tragedy was nearly 13 years ago, making me about 6 years of age on that birthday. I don’t remember many of my birthday’s up until quite recently because its an annual even that i have become so used to but the birthday of September 12, 2011 is a birthday I will never forget.

10 thoughts on “Flashbulb Memories

  1. Benjamin Daniel Rivera

    Yeah I can’t remember anything from that year but that day. I remember vividly the moment they told us in class and on. I can’t remember that morning or going to school or anything but I was told in art class and I remember everything about what the room looks like though I haven’t been in there for over 12 years. It also feels like every time the date 9/11 comes up I get a flashback of that day. I could imagine how having a birthday then could further engrave that event in your brain. Good Post

  2. Seong Min An

    Flashbulb memory is a kind of a vivid snapshot of a moment with surprise and I’m not sure that your memory is actually the flashbulb memory. You might not be surprised when you heard the news because you were just 5 or 6 years old and you might not have any concept of the terror. Don’t get angry. I was wondering if it was really a flashbulb memory. I thought it was just a kind of trauma. Whatever it is, you may have had hard time waiting for upcoming birthday no matter when.

  3. Alina Maria Proano Alvarez

    After learning about memories tied to emotions or trauma, I could understand what has happened to me during my entire life. I am a person that can’t let go of the past, it is almost as if it haunts me everyday. I tend to hold on to it, and re-live it in a day-to-day bases even though I am conscious that it is not worth it. The most difficult part for me is to face people or places with whom or where I have had negative experiences in the past. Whenever I am in contact with them, my mind brings me flashbulb memories of that particular moment that left a trauma in my life. It is an image that appears in my head for seconds, but brings a million negative memories and feelings with it. I don’t know why, but my brain tends to only bring negative flashbulb memories and I have been fighting against that as long as I can remember. Unconsciously, my mind relates places and people with certain feelings, and whenever those feelings are negative, I force my self to avoid those places and people forever. It have to learn how to protect my self from the bad memories tied to emotion or trauma, by understanding that those things are a part of my past now and all I have is here and now.

  4. tmm44

    I can definitely relate to you remembering the tragic September 11th, despite not having very many memories that I can still recall from when I was in first grade. I was in Ms. Tran’s first grade classroom in Odenton, Maryland when the World Trade Centers were attacked, and I can vividly remember being ushered out of the classroom, not knowing what had happened or where I was being taken. As I was walking down the hallway I remember seeing towels covering the cracks in the bottom of the doors. I didn’t understand what was wrong, and everytime I asked, I was told to wait until I got home to ask my parents. I was dismissed and got on the bus to go home. When my bus driver stopped to let me and my brother off at our stop, he told us to run home, and I remember how much that scared me. I remember running into my house to see my mom sitting on the couch watching the news on TV, where I witnessed what everyone was upset about. This is the best example of myself experiencing a flashback memory, because had it been a normal day in elementary school, I know I would not remember anything about September 11th.

  5. Harsimran Singh

    I think the only flashbulb memory I may have is of 9-11, but I’m not even sure if it’s a true flashbulb memory or just what people were telling me. I was elementary school at the time, I think in second grade. I don’t remember the exact events of that day, but I remember that the teacher turned off all the TVs in the classroom and then the principle made an announcement and we all went outside and made a circle around the flagpole. We then had to say pledge of allegiance. We all though it was funny because we didn’t know what happened. When I went home that day, my mom told me that a plane crashed into the WTC. I was really worried because my aunt lived in New York and asked if she could stay with us. I’m not sure if this is a true flashbulb memory or I’m just remembering it because everyone says “Oh I can remember exactly what happened that day”. It is probably the oldest memory with a good amount of detail that I have.

  6. Thomas Rainier Marciante

    Having your birthday on the worst day in recent American history must have been tough. I find it odd that the brain is so good at remember specifics of traumatic events even when we don’t want to sometimes. On 9/11 all I remember is standing in my living room watching the TV and nothing else. Supposedly I got out of school early but I have no recollection of it, all I remember is the hour I was standing until my mom turned the TV off. Like one of the comments above this same experience happened to my dad with John F. Kennedys assassination. He came home from school but only remembers having either the TV or the radio on as his whole family just sat in the living room watching everything happen. He also specifically remembers lying in his bed not being able to sleep and then going to school. Its sad to see that flashbulb memories in our generation and our parent’s generation are both traumatic events in our countries history, and hopefully it wont be like that for the next generation.

  7. Alexis Marie Arra

    Wow, the fact that your birthday is the day after 9/11 is insane. I can see why that day was a flashbulb memory for you! For me, 9/11 is kind of a blur. I feel like Im only imagining that day just from what other people have told me. I can picture me in my 1st grade classroom, but I don’t know if I actually remember that or I’m just picturing it from what my mom has told me. But in your case, you remember it even more vividly because you are linking it with another important event in your life, your birthday!

  8. mls6058

    It’s really sad to think that most of our flashbulb memory is due to a traumatic event that happened. I remember September 11th all too well. I remember my mom had come in to my elementary school to take my siblings and I out of school early. We then went home to watch the news while my mom called my dad who was traveling toward New York that day. It was a scary moment. I had asked my grandma if she could remember something so clearly that had happened so long ago and she immediately told me the John F. Kennedy’s assassination came to mind. Why are our flashbulb memories traumatic events? It mostly calls for a sense of surprise and an emotional pull toward it, which unfortunately, is all too connected to tragic events.

  9. Matthew Jacob Richards

    It really is amazing how emotional trauma causes memories to imbed in our minds so powerfully. The strong hormonal connection between the emotion felt from the event accompanied by the memory of the event itself leaves these flashbulb memories, and the clarity of their recall is remarkable. Along with the other commenter on this post, I don’t necessarily remember what happened on 9/11, since I was too young to know truly understand the gravity of the situation. However, last January I had a major flashbulb memory. A close friend of mine committed suicide and I was notified by phone. I was at a local hockey game with my mom. It was the 2nd period, the home team was down by 1, and there were 4 minutes left. That was when I received the call. Everything from that point until about 24 hours later I could recite to you as clearly as if you had been there too.

    Prior to this class, I understood the concept of strong memories tied to emotion or trauma, but I never understood how. The hormonal release caused by the emotions experienced almost acts as super glue for the memory to attach itself to the mind. This is why I am able to remember last January 19th in such vivid detail, or you remember 9/11 in the same manner. This concept of flashbulb memories fascinating, and your experience is quite interesting. Thank you for sharing.

  10. jmy5136

    That is insane that your birthday is when that tradgedy happened. I myself have a collection of flashbulb memories, however I don’t really recall what happened on 9/11. I remember my teacher explaining what happened, however that is all because I didn’t fully understand what was truly going on. I always wonder what generation will be the first to have no recollection of September eleventh.

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