In a recent class assignment I was asked to consider what is 'memory', what is 'memorialization', and what is the most important part of the memorial process. My answers are as follows:
For me, memory is the record of mental connections we make using our emotions and senses. It follows then, that memorialization is the public or private recognition of, and engagement with those recorded connections. Take, for example, a war memorial in a small town. For the people of that town the memorial represents the active acknowledgment of their emotions and respect for those involved in the war, both as military personnel and as civilians. The establishment of such reminders is an oftentimes difficult and complex process of balancing collective and individual memories. Memorialization does not necessarily have to culminate in a physical representation, it can also be an action, like raising a toast to a loved one departed, or tending to a garden while actively remembering the person who taught you about plants and gardening. Therefore, I believe that the most important part of the memorial process is the active engagement with the memories through recognizing and honoring the events that created them.
So, I encourage those of you who read this to consider the questions put before me in this assignment. I would love to hear your answers!