Friday, September 11, 2009

Where Were You When......

As we approached the 8th anniversary of September 11, 2001 I started to remember certain events during my life that I recall and felt were significant. Going back to the earliest in my memory, they are:

November 22, 1963. I was in the 1st grade when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. I remember the day fairly well. I was home sick in bed and listening to my little turquoise Motorola AM radio. I heard a news report and remember saying to my mother when she came to check on me..."President Kennedy was shot." Of course, I didn't understand the ramifications of the event, and she scolded me for saying such a thing. "It's true, I just heard it on the radio." My next memory of that week was sitting in the living room watching JFK's funeral procession on our big black & white console television and seeing the tears slide down my mother's face.

July 20, 1969.
I remember sitting in our summer cabin in Connecticut with a friend watching the moon landing on TV. I'm assuming I was watching it live but that was 40 years ago so maybe it was taped? I know it was during the day on a bright, hot summer day. I thought the whole thing was very cool.

December 8, 1980. The day John Lennon was murdered. He was shot about 11 p.m. so I didn't hear of this until the next morning when my radio alarm clock went off. I remember they were playing some slow, sad Beatles' song when the radio came on at 6 a.m. When I heard the DJ say John Lennon was shot to death the night before, I sat right up straight in bed and said "I hope he didn't do it to himself." That probably sounds irreverent now but remember this was right after the decade that saw the deaths of Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Mama Cass and Janis Joplin. Rock stars being responsible for their own deaths was pretty common then and now, I suppose. No other rock star's death has ever affected me like John Lennon's did.

September 11, 2001. That beautiful Tuesday morning I was sitting at my desk with some news page open on my computer when I looked over to see the first report. This was before streaming news, at least on my computer, so I had to keep refreshing the page to keep up. I rushed out into the office to tell anyone who happened to be in what was happening. The manager of the office, Pat, had a tiny little battery-operated TV on and sat watching the report in shock. Her son Tom was living in NJ and was scheduled to fly from Newark that morning. Remember the plane that flew into the field in Pennsylvania left from Newark. Fairly soon after the first reports she got a call from her daughter-in-law saying Tom was not on that plane.

For most of the day, those of us in the office walked around very quietly. Immediately the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 came to my mind. I was working with an agent, Dan Hunter, who I knew had been in the service during World War II. Dan is one of my heroes. I've said it many times in the 10 years I've known him. On 9/11/2001 when Dan stopped at my office door to talk I asked him, "Where were you on December 7th, Dan?" Pearl Harbor was his answer. Literally my mouth fell open, "You were there?" I said. He was there. He was a young Navy pilot, less than 20 I think, and his job was to fly the officers around the area. He was lucky enough that day to be away from the base. To this day I am amazed that I know someone who was actually at Pearl Harbor on that day.

One of the flight attendants on United Airlines Flight 175 flying from Boston to LA on 9/11 was from my town. Her uncle was a real estate attorney I did a lot of business with back then. I remember having a closing in his office that Friday. No one knew what to say to him, it was so horrible.

Today I expect to be reminded many times of that day and the chaos and horror of the week that followed. Certainly a momentous day in our history.

There were other important events that have happened but I can't remember exactly where and how I heard about them. These are my memories. What do you remember?

Image from Google Images


Pam said...

Great idea for a post! I remember hearing that John Lennon had died. I was standing in my kitchen and I must have been looking at the floor because every time I think about it, I see those green and black tiles. Weird! As for 9/11, I was in the dressing room of Sports Authority and Geoff called to ask me about a friend who worked in one of the towers (he survived, thankfully). The other biggie for me was the death of Princess Diana. Geoff and I were in the garage putting a baby seat on the back of my bicycle when our neighbor came over and told us. I was shocked. I was a romantic teen when Diana married Charles and I watched her wedding on TV with stars in my eyes. I followed her story very closely over the years (Prince Charming and all that, I guess). I also got up in the middle of the night to watch her funeral. What a sad and tragic figure.

Badass Geek said...

I was driving around town when I heard of what happened with 9/11. I switched the radio to NPR and listened in complete shock. It was a horrible, horrible day.

Anita said...

I blogged about this too Sandy, so you can read my account there, but I'll never forget my emotions and where I was on 9/11. I don't remember John Lennon's death, but I remember some of when Robert Kennedy was shot.
Sad historical times for sure.

kaye said...

I don't remember Kennedy, but I remember the moon landing. I was 10 and watching it with my family on TV. I remember going outside and gazing up at the moon and just being amazed that they were up there.

I’m remembering 9/11 today my link Have a nice Friday!

honeywine said...

That is such a difference in the WWII generation. They just accept and keep moving. It would never occur to them to even mention that they were there for the bombing. He probably wouldn't have even said anything if it were December 7th.

~Kristen~ said...

I wasn't alive when President Kennedy was shot or for the moon landing, but I was around 9 years old when John Lennon was killed, so I remember it, but not vividly. I think the first one that really stands out for me was when the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded in 1986. I was in my sophomore history class and they brought TVs in all the classrooms for us to watch the launch. I will also never forget where I was when the breaking news report came on that we had launched the first Gulf War. And then of course 9/11...this is one that will stay with me forever.

Sandy said...

Kristen....I was trying to think of other events that affected me and I forgot about the Space Shuttle disaster. Shame on me! I do remember being on my lunch break downtown Providence and walking over to the local television station and sitting down in their lobby and watching the reports. Another visual I'll never forget.

Laoch of Chicago said...

I was getting one Metra train next to the sears tower at Union Station in Chicago when thee news about 9/11 broke. It was total chaos there as people thought the Sears Tower might be attacked so the downtown was evacuated and was quite eerie.

BONNIE K said...

The space shuttle: there was something else going on, like the marriage of Charles and Diana. I wanted to tape it on my VCR cause I knew it would be long. Well that's when the shuttle exploded and it was all that was on TV, and we taped like 8 hours of space shuttle coverage instead of the wedding. I was also in 1st grade when JFK was shot. I remember my mother coming to meet me half way (which she never did) to tell me the news. And 9/11 - at work we all thought that it was just a terrible accident that a plane flew into the WTC. Watching the bodies of people who threw themselves out of windows was most distressing.

Vodka Logic said...

I don't remember where I was when Kennedy was shot but I do remember 9\11 in the living room just having coffee with the Today show.

I remember where I was when the hostages were released in Iran..I still have a copy of the newspaper from that day.



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