Ask anyone who was old enough to remember what they were doing when they initially heard that the Japanese Imperial Navy had attacked Pearl Harbor, plunging the United States into World War War II.
The bet is you'll get a quick, and accurate response about Dec. 7, 1941.
Likewise, people who were around on Nov. 22, 1963 for the assasination of President John F. Kennedy vividly recall what they were doing when the news the president had been shot and killed in Dallas arrived.
Fast forward now to Sept. 11, 2001. That's the day, of course, when the U.S. was attacked by the forces of al-Qaeda in New York City, Washington, D.C., and rural Pennsylvania.
This writing isn't intended to support or oppose what followed: a divisive war in Iraq, continuing U.S. involvement in Afghanistan, thousands of servicemen and woman and civilians killed and maimed and hundreds of billions of dollars in expense.
From where we sit, it appears likely those matters and associated others will be debated for decades to come.
What we want to underscore today, a dozen years later, is the importance of not forgetting what happened that day, on a human level.
Time will heal all wounds. And that's as it should be. But it shouldn't dim memories to a point where we, as a nation, forget.