Imagine this: One day you’re just minding your business when you hear the sirens warning you of a tsunami. You quickly climb up to the top of a building, waiting for the tsunami. The tsunami doesn’t come instantly; from the building, you see the ocean slowly rising up over the 15-meter barrage and into the streets and your house, removing your house from its base. All of your personal belongings and some of your family members and friends were swept away by the powerful Mother Nature, leaving only your sorrow behind.
That was just a Sparknotes version of the tsunami that occurred in Japan three years ago on March 11th, 2011. Lives were lost, buildings destroyed, hopes and dreams crushed. In my Japanese class, my teacher showed us the promotional video that announced that it would donate a penny every time someone searched “3.11” on Yahoo.com (see video below). The line that stood out to me was「ずっと忘れない」, or never forget.
The past is what makes the present, and the present is what makes the future. As learned from 1984 by George Orwell, “He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.” We are the ones who control what we remember about the past. Time heals, but the tsunami is a scar that we want to remain after the bleeding has stopped to commemorate the lives lost and remind ourselves to treasure everything that we have, for all could be lost within minutes.