Having memories pre-9/11

I realized today that, assuming conscious memory begins around age 7, today’s college freshman have no memory of life pre-9/11.


I don’t know where you get an idea like age seven. Most people develop long-term memory around age 3.

I realized, while I was pregnant, that 9/11 will be for my baby about the same as the Kennedy assassination was for me (born 1975). 9/11 for her will have happened about 11 years before she was born, and people of her parents’ and older generations will vividly remember where they were when they heard about it.

But I’d guess that most 3-year-olds don’t have much awareness of stuff that is going on in the world that doesn’t directly affect them. A 3-year-old that was in day care near the WTC on 9/11/01 might have some memories of it. A 3-year-old whose family wasn’t directly affected, probably wouldn’t.

I remember playing ‘newscaster’ with my older sister in the cabinet of our old Magnavox (a semi-regular game; that thing was out for repair a lot) and ‘reporting’ on things that President Kennedy was up to. I was born in October of '59, so I was about three. I remember being in the hospital with meningitis in November of '63, when he was shot.

I was four in the summer of 1964, and distinctly remember going to the World’s Fair in New York. I remember well my baby sister being born the following February, when I was five, and my grandmother dying in January of 1966, when I was six.

I got 7 from: My 1st memory was the Challenger disaster, adn I was 8 when that happened.

I remember the challenger tragedy in '86. We watched the launch on TV in preschool. I thought it was awesome, I had no idea something bad happened until my preschool teacher started acting odd. I recognized it as the same nervous upset trying not to upset the children act from a few months earlier when my mom got news her brother was killed. Then I realized the gravity of the situation and was sad. I was 4 years old.

FWIW, an article in the 4/30/2011 issue of New Scientist (v. 210 #2810, p42-45) titled “Our Forgotten Years” reports that the average age for most people’s earliest memories is around 3-3.5 years.

My own is around 5. My earliest memory that has any external validity is of Nixon resigning.

It was just about 2 years ago that I was talking to a college professor. She told that she’d bring up 9/11 to her younger students, and they had very little idea what she was talking about. So while we start forming memories at age 3, here were a bunch of 9 and 10 year olds who were unaware of 9/11.

Americans: still playing the game of pretending that getting two of their buildings knocked down is the most significant event in all human history.

Yes, having 3000 civilians killed in a unparalleled massive terrorist attack is pretty insignificant.

It wasn’t just the attack, it was our response to it.
The USA had not been attacked on the mainland from a foreign assailant since the War of 1812 if I recall correctly.
We thought ourselves somehow insulated from such disasters.
It marked a sea-change in the body politic.
One that still has implications in our daily lives.

So, yes, it was rather significant.

The folks at the Onion seem to have the a similar idea.

For a comedy newspaper it can really be depressing at times.

I remember the Challenger disaster, and I was two years old when it happened. My mother told me about it.

The first news event I recall with any vividness is the Piper Alpha disaster in 1988. I was 6 at the time but I have personal memories going back to about 2 years of age. Funnily enough although over 100 people died in the Piper Alpha disaster I’ve not heard much about it in the intervening years. Seems to have been largely forgotten.

Well, as you’ve seen, that doesn’t seen to extend to a number of other folks, who have memories from far earlier in life.

Personally, I have memories (which my parents have corroborated as being fairly accurate) of the house which we moved out of a few weeks before my 3rd birthday…those include a Christmas in that house, which was three months before that 3rd birthday.

Wow…I was in graduate school (in the U.S.) when this occurred, and, even then, I’d say that I followed the news fairly closely, but I have no memory of this. I would imagine it got some coverage in the U.S., but undoubtedly not nearly as much as it did in the British Isles.

That’s a pretty insulting thing to have said. I’m Canadian and I think it was of extreme significance: world-changing significance in fact.

I’ll never forget that day.

That’s a really shitty thing to say.

My earliest memories go back to when I was about three. I was six when JFK was assassinated, and I remember it clearly. I also remember the '64 election between Lyndon Johnson and Barry Goldwater when I was seven. Saying that anybody who was under seven when the terror attacks happened won’t remember them is pretty off base.