I only know two:

Challenger: 8th grade English class, it was mentioned over the intercom. I had the added disadvantage of attending the same junior high (later high school) as many of the children of the astronauts (Smith, Onizuka) in suburban SE Houston, who of course were present at Cape Canaveral when in it happened. Chose not to attend projection screening of the launch in the school auditorium.

9/11/01: Had recently started new job. Farting around on the Internet when I noticed I couldn't pull up the CNN website. A guy from across the hall came in and said he had heard something about the WTC over the radio.

Another trivia piece: today is the 39th anniversary of the Apollo fire that took the lives of three astronauts.


Princess Diana died during my birthday party, although I forget what year it was so I don't know *which* birthday party. 17th maybe? 18th?

On 9/11, I was in Madagascar on a semester abroad program my junior year of college. We had been in the country for 5 days. It was in the evening there when it happened, and everyone in the program was eating dinner together when the guy who ran our hostel came running out, trying to explain in his rudimentary French that there was an "airplane crash in [our] country." We weren't too concerned, but he was sure this was really something we wanted to see and obviously frustrated that he couldn't communicate that to us, so he ran back into his room and brought out an ancient seven-inch black and white TV. The newscast was in French and the anchorman was very agitated and talking way too fast for us to understand much of anything but the horrible pictures that they kept replaying over and over and over. We all thought we would be stuck in Madagascar for years, that in a war that used commercial airliners as weapons we would never get to go home. Of course by the time we were actually supposed to go home, just before Christmas, everything had settled down and the only real change was the number of American flags in people's yards.


I recall many of these. Elvis and John Lennon didn't stand out as that important to me (Lennon fans, don't criticize too much please). When Reagan was shot I was talking to two of my profs in the political science dept. at college. We immediately found a t.v. to get the covereage. I still had to take a make up exam though. When I heard of the challenger explosion I was in DC at the Supreme Court (at the cafeteria). I had just come home from a wedding when I heard about Diana. I had walked in the door and turned on the t.v. and saw the reports from Paris. On 9-11 I was at the office when our administrator told us about the plane crash. We jumped to the tv for the live broadcasts (immediate thoughts went to friends in the NYFD and NYPD, one of them made the supreme sacrafice). I can't recall when I learned of the Iran hostage crisis. However, I was at scout camp in the Adirondacks when Nixon resigned. We listened to the broadcast from a radio in a camp next to ours (why should all historic points be sad news).


If it makes you feel better, while seeing that the guy from Cellar Door was four when it blew up might have made you feel old, knowing that you were like 14 or so when it blew up and are thus only about seven years older than I am depresses me as you seem really accomplished by comparision.


The Happy Feminist

7 years is a looooong time!


I wanna play! I wanna play!

Elvis -- Not born yet.
Lennon -- Not born yet.
Reagan -- Inside my mother's uterus, waiting to be born a few months later.
Challenger -- Kindergarten. Quite traumatic, because I was going through the "I want to be an astronaut" phase.
Diana -- High school. Lots of girls were talking about it. Lots of guys were wondering what was going on.
Sept 11 -- In my Computational Physics class in college. We were coding some projectile motion (flight of a baseball while considering air friction), when one of the guys in the class said "Hey, on CNN.com it says that a plane crashed into the World Trade Center in New York". Everyone stopped coding and we all went to CNN.com. Later, when the website became impossible to access due to the enormous traffic, we left the room (class time was over also, btw), and ran into our Intro Physics prof from the year before. He told us he had a TV in his lab, and he was watching the news, so if we wanted, we could join him. We went with him and as I walked into the lab, the first tower collapsed.
Iran - Not born yet.

Ron O.

I have a horrible memory for things that happen and timelines. Sometimes I don't even remember how old I am. I do have good recall on things I read, so I I really want to remember somehting, I have to write it down & read it.

Anyway, I never cared that much for the Beatles or Elvis, so their deaths didn't personally affect me. When Jerry Garcia died, a man far more important to me, I was saddened. A friend called me with the news. We went to Cricket Hill near Montrose Beach to mourn with the other hippies in Chicago.

I remember the Challenger explosion. I was in my freshman year of college, sitting the kitchen of the sorority where I worked for my meals. I really wanted to be an astronaut & was trying to figure out a way for that to happen w/o joining the military.

On 9/11 I was at work. I read about the first crash in a news alert. A bunch of us crowded into my bosses office to watch the news. Less than a minute after we turned on the TV the second plane crashed. That image will be in my memory unitl death or old age wipes the slate.


Wow, what a question. I love how this dates all of us!

Challenger: I was in third grade, and while I don’t actually remember the moment I saw it, I’m pretty sure we were watching the launch at school. But I was strongly affected: what I remember most clearly is that we had nominated our teacher for the trip, so were paying close attention to it (as were many schoolchildren of the time, I’m sure).

Gulf War: The first war I was old enough to really be aware of. I was in eighth grade at my school’s science fair, that first evening that the shelling was all over the news, and several of us snuck into an empty classroom with a tv cart and watched for hours, instead of participating in the science far as we were supposed to. One of the kids with us was worried that his military mom was going to be sent over.

Diana: I was in a hotel room somewhere between Ohio and California, driving my car back to start another semester of college, and it was on the news in the morning when I turned the tv on. I remember the layout of the room and the pattern of the bedspread quite clearly, but have no memory of what town, or even state, I was in.

September 11: At home in California. I woke up early having dreamed that my dad and I were on a plane that crashed. Twice. Went back to sleep and woke up a couple of hours later to a strange sound: talking instead of music coming from my radio alarm clock. I couldn’t understand what was going on, (I think that I momentarily thought it was some sort of “War of the Worlds” type program – I couldn’t make any other sense of it) so I turned on the tv and it was on every channel. The first tower had already fallen. The second one fell as I watched. I called my dad, irrationally afraid that he actually had been on a place (he traveled frequently for business, so it was possible) and he was fine, but hadn’t heard the news yet because he was in the car driving and didn’t have the radio on. My memory of what I said to him in that conversation is crystal clear.


My answers are up on my blog



Am I the oldest person playing? Damn!

Elvis -- did not make an impression on me.
John Lennon -- was killed on my 15th birthday. I remember listening to the radio before I went to sleep. It had been a particularly shitty birthday, and this really topped it off. At the time, Lennon was probably top on my list of celebrities I would like to have met. He always seemed to smart, and so funny.
Hostages in Iran -- I was a sophomore in high school when they were released. I remember thinking that CBS news must regret having started their close of every broadcast with, "....the xxxth day of captivity for the hostages in Iran," or whatever exactly they said. I guess they never thought it would get into the triple digits. (This really dates me: I remember when I was little, the CBS evening news ended with them scrolling the names of the soldiers who had died in Vietnam.)
Reagan -- in his own words, "I do not recall." I think I spent most of the Reagan adminstration drunk and/or stoned.
Challenger -- I only remember I was studying in Kyoto, and I talked about how sad it was with my then-boyfriend (later husband).
Princess Di -- don`t remember when that was. I remember being sad, though.
9-11 -- It was nighttime in Tokyo. A friend called and said, "Turn on your TV." I watched with my kids. I sent them to bed when the second plane hit -- they were too small to understand. I remember my son said, "Cool!" and I said, "No, not cool. Lots of mommies and daddies and probably kids just died, because it`s not a movie, it`s real." I stayed up until the wee hours watching it, and then barely slept, and then went in to work early. I was a financial reporter. No one had called anyone to tell us to come in early, but most of us had, because we were all news hounds and wanted to find out more right away, and be ready to cover Asia`s reaction as the day started. It was an awful day -- there was just about no US Treasurys market because Cantor had been decimated.

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