Moments That Stopped Time

Yesterday was tough. It's hard to watch, but so important to keep talking about the events that unfolded on September 11, 2001. It seems impossible, but today's teenagers aren't old enough to remember it firsthand. Not only do we need to remember 2,977 victims, but also the families who went through the unimaginable, and those who sacrificed their lives for the War on Terror. The Patriot Act, the Department of Homeland Security, TSA, Islamophobia, immigration restrictions, etc. were all a result of 9/11 and they still impact us to this day.

On September 11, 2001, I was about to enter my last year at my university, but was home from my college town, fast asleep in my sister's room. We were about to embark on a family vacation to Florida for a week. My dad woke us up at 6:00 am to check out the news and all five of us watched the second plane crash into the South Tower. Planes were grounded and my mom worked in the travel industry, so our vacation was cancelled. Since we all had time off anyway, we spent it together in the living room, absorbed by the coverage for days.

I wrote a blog post a few weeks ago about where I was when I heard Princess Diana died and that got me thinking about other major events. Everyone has their 9/11 story, but what about these?

It seems like everyone my age can remember the explosion of the Challenger as their first big "Where was I when I heard?" moment, but I honestly don't! I was in first grade and because of the time of the launch, we were still at home that morning, getting ready for school. We must not have had the TV on, because I feel like if I saw it, it definitely would have stuck with me.

I vaguely remember the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. There was a block of kid programming after school each day and the hosts (a woman park ranger and a raccoon puppet) briefly talked about it. I do remember seeing footage for a few days, or probably even weeks, on the news at night.

I heard the news about Kurt Cobain's suicide on TV. I was in 9th grade and watched the coverage on MTV News for days afterward. I wasn't super into Nirvana at that point, but remember wanting to hop the ferry to Seattle to be a part of the gathering and mourning.

In 1999, I came home from community college every day to eat lunch and change clothes for work while watching music videos on MTV. When I heard the news about the Columbine High School massacre, I switched to CNN and was glued to my TV for an hour. My roommates were all at work, so I was home alone and extremely unsettled.

After events so tragic, it's hard to get caught up on things like celebrity deaths, but I do remember a few of those as well. On June 25, 2009, I was listening to the radio while driving and heard about Michael Jackson's death. I thought it was a hoax and I posted something to Facebook right away and realized I broke the news to a lot of people. I heard about the death of Robin Williams on August 11, 2014 when Leeann and I were in NYC, waiting for a table at The Loeb Boathouse and saw it on TV in the bar. I wasn't a big fan, but the circumstances were unexpected and incredibly sad. I was watching TV and scrolling through social media on January 10, 2016, when I saw the news of David Bowie on The Hollywood Reporter. I woke Jacob up to tell him and cried and couldn't sleep at all that night.

Do you remember where you were when you heard about any major events?


Jo said...

We didn't have a TV when I was growing up but I'm pretty sure I heard about all these events on the radio news: Challenger & Berlin Wall. I was in high school when Kurt Cobain died & I guess I also saw that on the news & as for Columbine also probably on the news.
We were driving the kids to school when we heard about Micheal Jackson's death & I clearly remember how shocked our kids were about it. And I think I learned about Robin Williams & David Bowie on FB

Audrey Louise said...

I remember where I was when I heard about the attack on NY.
When I was in 5th grade I spent my mornings at one school for a gifted program and then was bused to my normal school for lunch/the rest of the day. The first school I was in that day didn't tell their students or turn on the TV. When I got back to my "home" school I walked into my classroom and saw fire and dust and chaos on the TV. I was horrified. My teacher took me into the hall and had to explain everything to me. It was unreal.
I also remember where I was when Robin Williams died. That one shook my family pretty badly because we were all together in the car on a vacation and we'd just gotten done fighting. His death made members of my family recognize and acknowledge their depression history.

SMD @ lifeaccordingtosteph said...

I remember watching Columbine unfold on TV, watching the Challenger explode from my classroom, and following the Princess Diana story before college started for the semester. I remember getting dismissed early from class to catch the OJ verdict. I remember the fall of the wall being covered on the nightly news. I remember every second of the day of 9/11.