Friday, September 01, 2006

Where were you when . . .

This morning I made a quick trip up to Dallas for the finalize the adoption of my niece to by brother and sister-in-law. She was born six months ago, and entrusted to them with the standard six-month evaluation period by the state. This morning we all met at the courthouse in downtown Dallas, stood before a judge, and celebrated as she awarded permanent custody to my bro and sis-in-law.

While they waited for the actual decree of adoption paperwork to be produced, my parents and I took a stroll around the block outside the courthouse. This may sound odd if you do not realize that the courthouse sits on Dealy Plaza. So, we strolled by the Texas Book Repository and it's infamous sixth floor. We walked over the grassy knoll and saw where Kennedy was assassinated. My parents talked about where they were when they first learned the impossible news. Mom was working over a drafting board when a coworker came in from lunch and frantically turned on the radio. Dad was working at the bank - same situation. While this occurred about a month before my parents had their first date, and a decade before I was born, I began remembering the defining world events of my (remembered) lifetime.

I was in class, and it was show and tell day. Someone had brought a novelty radio that looked like a can of shaving cream. We were listening to this radio when they broke in with the news that Reagan had been shot. She quickly turned off the radio, but the news was sinking in to these young minds.

I was in forth period math class. The teacher was a coach, and by happenstance the class was all guys – not a single girl. Naturally, there was generally a little bit of cutting up going on. So when the real clown of the class walks in and announces that the shuttle Challenger blew up, none of us believed him. That took a few minutes to sink in.

It was a Wednesday night. I was driving to church on the other side of town. All they were talking about on the radio was Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait. This was the start of many years of a modern era of blood, sweat, and tears involving that region of the globe.

So, what about you? Where were you? There are others I could have mentioned, that are indelibly burned into my memory, but these are three of the strongest from my memory. What event has stuck with you the most?


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4 comments:

Amy said...

I was sitting at the kitchen table, when my older sister came in and told me that Kurt Cobain had committed suicide. The sense of tragedy I felt was unreal.

September 11. I slept in and skipped my first class. As I was making my way to chapel, some of my friends tried to explain what had happened with complete looks of shock on their face. They explained it properly in chapel to our student body, and a day long prayer meeting ensued. (i skipped out after a few hours with a desperate need to see the news.)

congrats on the new family member!

The Cachinnator said...

I was in class with Mrs. Malkovich when the Challenger happened. We were watching it on TV as an educational program. I didn't really understand it all until my parents explained it later.

I was working the worst job of my life: telemarketing. The boss came on to the floor and said that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. I pictured a little turboprop in a terrible accident. The boss said we should keep calling, but every person I called was either crying or enraged that I could be calling them while the world was falling apart. Yeah, I quit shortly thereafter.

euphrony said...

On 9-11, I was new to my current job, only been here about two months. I come in to work early, and was already hard at it in the lab, listening to the radio, when they broke in and announced the first plane had hit the WTC. I thought how tragic, but not without precedent because I knew about the plane that hit the Empire State Building in the '40s. Then the news of the second plane, and I knew what was going on.

Chaotic Hammer said...

Well, I should do a little bit of flexing my "I'm an old guy" muscle here, and start with an odd one that I still remember...

In the summer of 1974, my family was on our annual summer vacation, and as was our tradition, we were making the drive from Houston, where we lived, to Pennsylvania, where my parents were both from (and where all my relatives lived). We stopped at one of our standard motel rooms for the night (probably a Holiday Inn), and were settling into the room for the evening, when Richard Nixon's face was there on our TV screen, big and serious looking... my Dad was listening intently, I don't think us kids (me, my younger brother, and my baby sister) were paying attention, and my Dad quieted us down and turned up the volume on the TV and said "Listen!". Nixon was announcing that effective the next day, he was resigning as President of the United States. I'm not sure if I understood the seriousness of the event at the time, but I still remember that evening in the motel room.

Labor day weekend, 1997, I was at Ft. Irwin, in the high desert of southern California, visiting with a military couple who were close friends of my family (he's Army, she's Navy), and I think that my daughter and the couple (and their daughter) had gone out to the store or something... anyway, I was sitting alone in their living room, and channel-surfing on their TV when the news broke in with the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. I remember that it was quite shocking at the time, she seemed so invincible and untouchable... then all the TV stations spent the entire rest of the weekend (and the following week, if I recall correctly) broadcasting non-stop Diana coverage, including the body being moved, the funeral, etc.

11th of September, 2001 - Every morning I drove my daughter across the Presidio of Monterey in Calfornia and down into downtown Monterey to catch a bus to her school. I was listening to sports talk radio a lot, as I was probably following the Giants in a pennant race in the NL West. I remember just as I was arriving in downtown Monterey, the radio saying something about a plane crashing into the WTC, and my daughter said something about "Oh, yeah, I heard about that on the radio" (music station in her bedroom as she was getting dressed). I dropped her off, then listened in amazement as two sports-talk guys talked about a second plane has just hit, this is apparently terrorism. Even the sports talk guys were saying "We don't really feel like talking about sports today, this is too serious...". I got home and turned on the TV, it was shown on every channel -- both towers were still standing at that point. I went and woke up my wife and said "Get up, you're not going to believe what's happening...". We watched together in shock and horror as the towers came down.

We both knew immediately that the world had changed forever on that day.

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