Memories makes us who we are

The GiverWhat are our lives but the sum of all of our memories. Do you remember your early childhood and every thing that has happened to you since then? Can you remember events that took place during your lifetime?

I can remember every thing that happened in my lifetime on November 22, 1963, the day that John F. Kennedy was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald. Everything from the moment our principal announced his death through the killing of Oswald by Jack Ruby and all of the funeral events, right up to Taps by the lone bugler. I could relive it as if it was yesterday.

How about the day that Gordo Cooper became the last American to go into space alone on May 15, 1963. Or when Neil Armstrong stepped off the ladder and onto the surface of moon on July 21, 1969 proclaiming: “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”.

Then we had that awful day in September of 2001 when our country and the world was plunged into the long war on terror. If you were alive then you will never forget the Twin Towers collapsing in huge clouds of smoke and dust. Or the video of  American Airlines Flight 77 flying into the Pentagon.

We live in eventful times with many memories that have shaped our lives. But we also have memories of earlier times that have been passed down to us by our parents and grandparents. Memories of family members from the past. Memories of events that took place before we ever lived.

But what if we had no memories of our past or the past of our country; no memories of war, peace, innovations or any who lived before us. How devoid would our lives then be? No memory of color, music, emotion or feelings. How grey our lives would be.

This is the premise of Lois Lowry’s book The Giver that has been turned into a thought-provoking movie that is now in theaters nation-wide. Their are no car chases or shootouts; no torrid love scenes or lover’s quarrels. Ms. Lowry asks the question: “Is this the future that we will be sentenced to?”

For the old there is the euphemistic “release” which is actually death by lethal injection. Infants who don’t make the grade are subject to the same treatment. To keep the populace under control there is a daily injection that dulls the senses. It depicts a perfectly regimented society that demands conformity in every thought, word and deed. And everything is watched by cameras that record every citizens deed.

Compare it to our modern society with its proliferation of surveillance cameras. We have government agencies spying on our email, Internet viewing and phone calls on a daily basis. We have political correctness in speech and actions pushing us into conformity.

More importantly, our government and the media is attempting to erase our past in order to protect us, or so they say. When was the last time that you saw any videos of the 9/11 attacks? Only a few brave media outlets are willing to remind Americans of that awful day. Instead, we get fluff stories about the new iPhone 6 or the latest upcoming movies. Sure, they cover the news but only for a day or two.

Memories are the fabric of our lives and those that will come after us. Without our memories we will become nothing but automatons without any emotions. Do we want to be ‘lost to memory’? I hope not. I want someone to remember me and my life.

 

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