Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Where Was I

A comment by Geri on my Berlin wall memory post got me to thinking about where I was during specific life changing events that have happened in my lifetime. A couple I have blogged about but most I haven't. Though many events stand out in my life and have made impressions, only those written below are ones where I can remember 'Where I was' when I heard the news. I thought it would be nice to put them all together in one post.

March 30, 1981 - Sitting in first grade with not a political bone in my body yet formed, the teacher came in and announced that President Reagan had been shot. She said he was in the hospital and that if we wanted too, we could pray for his survival. She answered our questions but I don't recall having asked any myself. I was still mostly innocent and wish I could be like that again.

January 28, 1986 - Just back from lunch and recess, Ms. Wolf walked into our sixth grade classroom with tears in her eyes. She told us that the space shuttle Challenger had just blown up and that for the rest of the day, we were free to do what we wanted as long as we were quiet. It was then that the notion of being an astronaut went from being 'cool' to being dangerous.

November 9, 1989 - The beginning of the end of the cold war.

August 2, 1990 - It was dark out and I was home finishing up my exercise regimen with some sit-ups in my bedroom vaguely listening to the radio in the background. The announcer broke into the music to announce that bombs were exploding in Baghdad and the Gulf War had begun. There on a rural farm, without a television and before the internet, I suddenly felt so far away from the world. I just laid on the floor where I was listening to the radio with my mind half a world away.

July 21, 1995 - Stage 18 of the Tour de France had long been over but I was watching the airing of it on U.S. television that evening in the apartment. Still morning the retirement of Greg Lemond and disliking his long time rival Miguel Indurain who was now mopping up the field for the fifth straight year, a young Texan by the name of Lance Armstrong broke from the pack and won the stage in such a dominating manner that I told myself that he might be the next Lemond. I was wrong not due to the fact that he dropped out the next year sick with cancer but because he came back and turned out to be the best the sport of cycling has ever seen.

February 18, 2001 - For years having been a casual fan of NASCAR and specifically of Dale Earnhardt, I had scored two free tickets to the Daytona 500 less than 20 feet front the start finish line. My and my buddy were enjoying the race and everyone was standing up as Dale Earnhardt battled with Sterling Marlin in what could have been a 1-2-3 finish for Dale Earnhardt Incorporated. Dale's car hit the wall in turn four and spun to a rest about 100 yards from where I was sitting. Disgusted that he had been 'taken out' and having seen much worse wrecks, we decided to skip out to beat the traffic back towards the other side of Florida. Later that evening, flipping through radio stations trying to find some good music on while stuck in gridlock traffic caused by brush fires across the interstate, the radio announcer came on and said that yes he knew that Earnhardt was dead and to please stop calling the station. My buddy and I both looked at each other seeking to see if the other had heard what we thought we just heard. It was a long silent drive back. The next day at the airport as we sat in the terminal, every television was tuned to coverage of Dale's death and around each stood a crowd of people watching silently.

September 11, 2001 - The day the most horrific of events occurred, so terrible that the day it occurred itself is forever etched in our minds.

February 1, 2003 - Though technically on vacation, I was just waking up after an interview for a job, any job but the one I worked at and hated, that I had done the previous day and then spent the evening trying to forget it with several bottles of beer after being offered the job on the spot and having to refuse it because they hadn't told me it was strictly contract work without any benefits. I was only a year and a half off of having been laid off and didn't want to go through all that worry again. So as I packed up my stuff getting ready to head back to my hated job, I turned on the television to a live video feed of what looked like a meteor breaking up in the sky. Only upon reading the news bar underneath did I learn a second space shuttle disaster had occurred. The space shuttle Columbia had broken apart on re-entry and was now scattering itself across three states. I watched for an hour until I couldn't take it anymore and started driving back south. Halfway home I couldn't take that anymore and pulled over at a restaurant for an early lunch and spent some time writing in my journal.

March 19, 2003 - Sitting at work, listening through my ear buds at a news radio show while working at a job that now made me physically ill to do, the "Shock and Awe" of the second Gulf War had begun. We ended up piping the play-by-play callback through some speakers and listening to it the rest of the day. I suspected that we were entering into a horrible mistake and six and a half years later, I now know how right I was and wish I had been wrong.

May 15, 2004 - I said 'I do' in a small country church for the first and last time on a perfect spring day.

June 1, 2006 - The best thing that I've ever created was brought into this world.

8 comments:

PhilippinesPhil said...

I was in first grade at St Mary's in Bangor Maine when the nun came tearfully into our classroom to explain that the president had just been shot and killed. That was quite a week. I was just old enough to understand the gravity of it all. It was disconcerting to be so young and to see so many adults so emotionally upset. The world was never the same again after that for me.

R. Sherman said...

It's interesting which events make an impression and which do not. Some, of course, i.e. Kennedy's assassination, 9/11, become a part of everyone's consciousness while other have greater or lesser meaning depending on the person.

Cheers.

Ed said...

Phil - It's amazing how easily innocence is lost.

R. Sherman - It is interesting. I remember in high school, one of my classmates who was so far removed from the current events world, didn't know who Ronald Reagan was much less that he had been shot. That admission blew my mind and forever reminded me how little some people can care about the world around them.

sage said...

Let's see, I was working, driving back from a meeting in Elizabethtown, toward Whiteville NC when Reagan was shot... I was also in a car, driving back from the funeral home to see my Great-grandma when the Challenger blew up.

I was in grad school when the Cold War ended and don't remember much about it.

Our entry into the first Gulf War wasn't until January--it was the night of the 16th because it was my birthday and I was with friends at a bar called "Tip's Up" in a New York State ski resort... All sudden they showed the news of the bombs flying.

Although Southern, I follow Nascar less than I do bicycling...

I was flying back to Utah when Columbia blew up--nothing was said till we got into the terminal.

June 1, 2006--I was clueless, like the residents of Bethlehem for a previous birth, but I learned about the big event in a blog post a day or so later! (ain't it about time for another update?)

geri said...

This is an interesting blog topic :) I remember officemates talking about where they were when 9/11 happened. I first read about it in an internet cafe in China and over the phone a friend commented that this was going to change everything. How right he was.

Aug 2, 1990 many believed was going to be the end of the world as Nostradamus had predicted (it will satart from an Asian country). I was still in college and in a none religious university, we gathered in front of the school building to say a prayer.

Beau said...

It seems this is a time of reflection too... thanks for sharing your memories. And Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

Bone said...

My Mom had come to pick me up after school and told me Reagan had been shot when I got to the car. I went back inside to tell my teacher and she didn't believe me. I was crushed. I never did convince her. She apologized to me the next day in class.

Ed said...

Sage - A southerner who doesn't like Nascar! That's blasphemy!

Geri - That one wasn't even on my radar.

Bone - Just knowing you from your blog, I guess I can understand why your teacher didn't believe you. Why, I don't know. You have always seemed honest on your blog. I guess it is that humor of yours!