...Mac tagged me on a cool meme.
1. President Kennedy's Assassination - 22 November 1963
I was in second grade at St. Francis of Assisi School, and lived in Allentown, Pa. I had seat on the aisle closest to the windows. Our nun, Sister Angela, had been called out of the room and was out for a few moments. She quickly came back in and said "President Kennedy's been shot." She ducked out in the hall again for a minute or two, and rejoined our class and said said "We don't know how bad it is. Fr. Walters [the pastor] was listening to the radio and heard the report, he was in Texas." I remember wondering "what was he doing in Texas?" None of us cried, but sat there in stunned silence.
We had a scheduled bathroom break, and as usually we filed upstairs it two by two in silence to the rest rooms. When we came back downstairs, we assembled in the chapel. [Which served as the parish church, as the new church building had not yet been completed.] We said prayers, and were informed that the president had died. Shortly afterwards, school was over for the day [I lived in Allentown, Pa. at the time.] I can remember walking home and turning on the news, and the coverage was the equivalent of 24/7 now on all networks. I remember that whole weekend like it was recent. He was killed on a Friday. The next morning I remember walking to the church to light a candle. It was the first news story I really followed. I'd watched the news before - but it was something that happened a child that young could grasp. I saved pictures from the paper. Had I been slightly older, I would have saved the articles too. I was cutting out pictures for a scrapbook which I'd made, and when I saw Jack Ruby shot. I remember calling out to my mom, who was in the kitchen to tell her what had happened. I have to say I was glad at the time that Oswald had been shot. I did feel sorry though for Marina Oswald and her kids, and Officer Tippett's family, I always wonder what happened to his wife and children. The only time I cried was the night of the assassination, as I was going to bed and thought about Caroline (who was a year younger than me) - it made me feel awful that her dad was killed like that. Jackie Kennedy was considered heroically stoic and dignified throughout. I have to say that during the Kennedy Administration you NEVER heard about "Camelot" -- that was all propagated by Theodore White AFTER the assassination. You'll find NO reference to it prior to the assassination.
2. England's World Cup Semi Final v Germany - 4 July 1990
Blissfully unaware. I was having a good summer. I'd returned from vacation in the south of France in May of that year ... and was working on documenting and straightening out the batch files for the computer jobs that ran overnight which produced the work plans for Tomahawk missile factory floor assembly at General Dynamics. Good thing too, because it came in damn useful in August that year - as that's when Kuwait was invaded.
3. Margaret Thatcher's resignation - 22 November 1990
I can remember watching the news reports with my mom. We'd thought it was tacky the way the "old boy network" stabbed her in the back when she was out of the country on business. 10 John Majors weren't worth one of the Iron Lady. [Sorry Stephen!!!]
4. Princess Diana's death - 31 August 1997
It was late afternoon and I was going to a baseball game that night. I had been coming out of Old Town onto highway 8 and I flipped on the radio that night and heard the initial reports. She'd been taken to the hospital but had not yet died. The report said there were at least two deaths and two badly injured, including her. When I went to the game that night, many people had had their radios (and quite a few people normally took to the games to listen to the commentary. You could literally SEE the news of her death pass in waves through the stands. When we got home from the game that night, the TV cameras were trained on the removal of the Mercedes from the tunnel. I wrote to an English friend of mine about it, and it turned out I was the one who informed him of what had happened. Because it happened in the wee hours local time, many of us in the US knew about it before those in the UK and elsewhere. My friend, Tim, had not yet flipped on his radio before he'd read his email. Every now and again I see one of the princes photographed riding in a car without a seatbelt and I want to scream "put your seatbelt on, you MORON!"
5. Attack on the twin towers - 11 September 2001
I must have been one of the last people in North America to know. My father had died on Sept 8 in Pennsylvania, so I'd come back east for the funeral. I'd flown out on Monday the 10th and was staying with my aunt and uncle the night before and was to be "passed on" to my dad's side of the family around noonish that day for the drive up to the coal region. About an hour away. I'd had a nice sleep in and woke up about 8:25, and gone down to greet my aunt and catch up on family news...my aunt had had the TV/Radio on, but had turned it off when I came down. We chatted until shortly after 11 eastern time. We'd then put my suitcase in the car to go meet my dad's sister and her husband. I was seated in the car, when a neighbor from across the street had hailed my aunt. She was gone for a good 5-10 minutes and I was starting to get antsy, when my aunt told me "the twin towers have been hit and destroy, the Pentagon's hit, and there was a plane crash in Pa." And I said "Who are at war with - they're going to get it." I did not cry at the time, I was stunned and angry, and when I'm stunned and angry I don't cry. I *almost* shed a few tears at the 21 gun salute my dad received, but not quite. I was glad my dad didn't have to live through that time, as ill as he'd been. For two months until we retaliated I woke up angry. I have never felt like that before. About that same time I was fussing around with photograph doing up albums, and had come across a photo one of my uncles had taken in the NY harbor when he'd taken my young cousins to see the Statue of Liberty. He'd caught a photo of my cousin perfectly framed with the twin towers in the background. And I finally cried for about 10 minutes.
6. The election of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger to the papacy - 19 April 2005
I'd walked down to a liquor/deli shop for lunch. They had a nice sidewalk eating area, with television. As I walked into order my usual Italian sub sandwich, the news was showing the crowds cheering the announcement that a pope had been elected. I said to the counterman "who's the new pope?" He said "I don't know ... some German name..." abd I said "Ratzinger?" And he said "yes, that's it!" So by pure serendipity I got to see and hear his first address as pope to the public. I can remember thinking "Benedict XVI huh?" Yeah, like he thought of THAT on the spor of the moment. Just once it would be nice to have an unconventional name in modern times. I await "Pope Bubba." Digi, put the word in your boy's ear.
This was a fun meme, so if it strikes your fancy, feel free.