I may be the oldest. I don't want to do the math ...

Elvis: sitting on a neighbor's stoop wondering why she was crying. At that time all I knew about Elvis was that he was a fat guy who played Vegas and took lots of pills.

Lennon: Came down for breakfast, it was still dark out, seeing the NY Post headline on the table. Caught subway for the long commute to High School. Went to the Dakota after school.

Reagan: Rounding NW corner of 6th Avenue and 14th Street, NYNY, saw the Post midday edition at that newsstand on the corner. Went straight home to watch TV. [I learned that the Pope was shot the same way, different day!]

Hostages in Iran: aware, but that's all I can recall. Remember the news reports of the failed rescue ...

Princess Di: 4 to 12 shift in a DA office complaint room. Told incidently by a cop I was talking to over the phone.

Challenger: Sophomore in college in Carpy's dorm room, cutting class, listening to AC/DC's Jailbreak '(Seventysomething) bootleg album.

9/11- Sitting on my stoop with my daughter putting my shoes on, wondering what the loud explosions were, wondering why paper was raining down from the sky, wondering why the babysitter was late, being told by the sitter that a plane hit the towers, spending the rest of the day looking for (and eventually finding) my wife. I never got around to tying my shoes.


I think I win the award for being the oldest one here. I actually remember JFK's assassination! I was 6 years old and home sick from school. My mother had allowed me to lay on the chesterfield and watch TV. When the news hit, I didn't really know what it was all about but I do remember thinking that it must have been pretty important.

I heard about John Lennon's death when I came home from a late night college class. I couldn't figure out why anyone would want to kill John Lennon - a man whose music played a very big part of my life. Lennon's death was something I took hard - I think it killed a little bit of my childhood.

The rest of the events didn't really make any impact on me except Sept 11. Husband and I were making breakfast and we turned on the morning news. We stood in the living room, watching the TV, in stunned silence. It filled me with tremendous fear. As Canadians, we knew we could very likely be next in line, but what really scared us was the wait to see how the US would react. We thought there was a possibility we were watching the beginnings of a new world war. I don't think either of us slept that night.

One event not mentioned sticks out very clearly in my memory...the 1973 invasion of Israel by Egypt and Syria. For a while it had the entire world on edge when Russia threatened to intervene militarily. My father was in the Air Force at the time, my eldest brother was of draft age, and my other brother was only 6 months shy of being draft age. I wondered if half of my family was going to be sent to war.


the '73 invasion. I remember that well. I was standing outside of temple as the Yiskor service was taking place.

The Happy Feminist

The '73 invasion was before my time. My first political memory was trying to decide who should win the Ford-Carter election. My analysis was that Ford should win because Carter was really funny looking. When you're five, there is not much beyond that to go on (especially since my parents were voting opposite ways).


I think I'm about the same age as Happy Feminist (born in 1971).

Elvis & Lennon - vague memories of Lennon, none of Elvis. I listened to a lot of Beatles music growing up but never really connected the music with the man until later.

Reagan being shot - my fundamentalist aunt was living with us at the time (she found Jesus at the bottom of a bottle) and was very, very upset. I was in fourth grade.

Challenger - I remember a student running into our biology lab and saying "the space shuttle blew up". Then I remember endlessly watching footage of those two contrails trailing off, and all of us grimly laughing when Mission Control said, "Obviously a major malfunction here." Seemed to be the understatement of the year.

One event no one's mentioned - the Berlin Wall coming down. I was a sophomore in college, and we all sat around watching in astonishment at the people dancing on the wall. I had friends who had been to Russia in the late 1980s, but if you had told me in 1987 that the Wall would be gone in two years I would have said you were insane. I just remember that 1989-90 seemed like this glorious wave of freedom was spreading across the world as the Iron Curtain lifted and Mandela was released from 27 years of prison.

9/11 - I was taking care of my 6-month-old daughter when my wife called and said, "Turn on the TV." "Which station?" "It won't matter." I was taking a few weeks' paternity leave, and that kind of sucked because for a week all I did was watch TV and get depressed. I will never, ever forget the image of the South Tower collapsing into dust, and the dawning horror on the voices of the TV anchorpeople as they slowly comprehended what had just happened.

The other "where were you when" news that will be painfully familiar to any Minnesota Democrat was hearing the news of Senator Paul Wellstone's death. What a horrible election 2002 was.

The Happy Feminist

Thanks Norsecat!

Actually the fall of the Berlin wall was a biggie. I was living in a very isolated third world town when that happened. I actually missed the immediacy of a lot of big events because my family lived in such isolated areas for much of my upbringing.


President Reagan: Our third-grade teacher was called out into the hall, and then entered the room to tell the class the news. We were all sent home.

Challenger: I had volunteered to erase the board after eighth-grade English class. The principal gave the word over the public address system.

Diana: Some of us were walking around in Philadelphia when we had heard something about an accident in Paris. I learned she had died after speaking with my mother on the phone.

9/11: I was off from work and turned on the radio after waking. I think Imus was on and I heard something about a plane crash somewhere. I winced; then I heard something about the WTC, which prompted me to jerk upright and run into a room with a television set.

My personal 9/11 stories: I had interviewed the local 7-Eleven manager for a paper I had written in college. He's of Middle Eastern descent, and so I feared for his safety. I wanted to warn him to go home, or something. I drove to the store, where there were just a few other customers. The man's wife had just purchased a mini-TV from another store to keep an eye on the news coverage. I was wondering how I was going to phrase it when he said, "Do you want anything? We're about to close."

Also that day, there was an already scheduled blood drive at a nearby church. I was going to donate that day, anyway. When I arrived, the line was out the door. After I was there about three quarters of an hour, we were informed that the Red Cross didn't have enough supplies to handle the turnout. It's a problem they probably wish they had all the time, you know?

I read something years ago about Jim McKay of ABC Sports having to harbor the awful secret about the slaying of the Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich games all to himself until he went onto air, and how difficult that must have been for him. And I thought of that when seeing the pictures of President Bush being one of the few people in that classroom who knew the awful truth, having to keep it all in and keep face while wondering how to break the news...

Boy Genteel
Men's Rights = Women's Rights = Human Rights

The Happy Feminist

I imagine President Bush's mind just racing as he read that story to those schoolchildren right after he heard the news . . .

You know, I have always been saddened that I've never in my life been able to give blood. First, I was disqualified because I had lived in Africa. Now I am disqualified because I spent 6 months in the U.K. at the height of mad cow disease.

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