After every disaster conferences are held, large binders of “lessons learned” are amassed, and we solemnly swear to “never forget.” But we do forget; and we place the binders on the shelf, next to binders from the previous disasters that come to very similar conclusions.
On one hand, forgetting makes us more likely to repeat history. On the other hand, time heals all wounds. Forgetting can be as healing as it is risky. There are no easy answers to heal a community after disasters. But as we search for answers and prepare, let us start from the premise that we will, mercifully, forget. I hope you enjoy this excerpt.