Against the background of the 30th anniversary of the invasion of Panama by U.S. troops, this article analyzes cross-generational differences in how Panamanians evoke and signify this event. Panama’s current climate is ideal to explore this topic, because 2019 also marked 500 years since the foundation of Panama City. This article focuses on how different generations revamp collective memory and relate a story that befits the circumstances of their time. Drawing on informal interviews, secondary data, and relevant aspects of family biography, it examines the interplay between generational drifts and subjective knowledge of Panama. This analysis spotlights how local and transnational processes intersect with biography, shaping perceptions of national history. By the end of the 20th century, U.S. militarized presence in the Panama Canal Zone gave way to a less conspicuous—yet no less significant—influence over Panamanian affairs. Thereupon, past generations’ concern with sovereignty has been overshadowed by a growing focus on the country’s integration in the global economy. While Panamanian millennials are not oblivious to recent U.S. armed intervention, their attitude towards this action is impersonal and dispassionate. Their perception of an increasingly faster course to meet the future dovetails with both a subjective distancing from Panama’s neocolonial history and a growing disconnect from the anti-imperialist discourse of past generations.

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