A flashbulb memory is a very vivid and detailed mental image of a moment in time when emotionally arousing news was learned about.
Mrs. Rebecca Lammers, the AP Psychology teacher at LCN, shares the widely accepted flashbulb memories for prior generations, “For my generation [Gen X] it was 9/11. For the Baby Boomers it was JFK’s assassination. For Millennials and beyond, COVID-19 will be an example.”
For generations before us, the widely-accepted flashbulb memory was 9/11, the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers. This event took the United States by storm, and if you asked any adult, many could tell you exactly where they were when they first heard the news.
This will become a common occurrence for this generation with COVID-19. Lammers says, “Their [Millennials and beyond] lives have basically stopped in their tracks. What is unique about COVID-19 is that it is not a day or two, it is weeks. Some may remember specific moments or conversations with loved ones. Some may focus on lost opportunities.”
As a student, I know I will remember the entire night of Thursday, March 12th and the day of Friday, March 13th.
I was getting ready for the last day of Charity Week. I was very excited for the Pancake Breakfast and Pep Assembly, and I planned out my spirit week outfit beforehand. I checked my phone and all of a sudden everyone was talking about how the school might close because of how fast the Coronavirus was spreading. I saw someone post on their Snapchat Story that the Governor of Michigan, Gretchen Whitmer, would be speaking at 11:00 p.m. to decide whether schools would be closing or not. As I watched the News, Whitmer ordered all K-12 schools to close until April 6th.
I woke up the next day and parked in my painted parking spot, not realizing that it was probably the last time I will ever park there again.
I remember each minute of Whitmer’s speech that night and every moment of the day before the school went on a state-mandated shutdown.
This will be something that our generation will remember so clearly for the rest of their lives.
We will pass on the memories of the realization that we may never go back to school for our 2019-2020 school year.
Freshmen will always remember how unusual their first year of high school was.
Juniors will always remember the commotion of the cancellation of the SAT.
Seniors will always remember the panic about whether prom and graduation would be cancelled.
AP students will always remember the time when the College Board had to make all AP tests online.
Students and employees of the state will remember when Michigan went on a complete lock-down.
We will tell our kids about how we were limited to buying three rolls of toilet paper at Kroger, because everyone began preparing for weeks of isolation.
We will remember walking down the aisles of grocery stores with empty shelves, and every restaurant closing indoor dining at 3:00 pm on March 16th.
We will remember this nationwide emergency as it forms into a chaotic preparation for the apocalypse.
So, where were you when this news rang into your ear? What will you remember? Is this your flashbulb memory?