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Do you remember when
Old 12-08-2014, 02:14 PM   #1
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Do you remember when

The recent thread on the death of John Lennon got me thinking. A lot of tragic things have happen in the world during my 60+ years but a few events must have really struck me since I can remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when they happened. (almost like it was yesterday)


1) 11/22/1963 - JKFs assassination I was in my school lunchroom when they turned on the radio news over the loud speakers.
2) 1/28/1986 - Space Shuttle Challenger disaster I was in my office at work when I heard it on the radio.
3) 9/11/2001 - 911 I was in my office at work when I heard about it. Most of the people on the floor gathered in the local conference room, turned on the TV and watched the towers fall. By noon that day, half of the people in the building had gone home and many local business had closed. The next few days it was so strange not to see any planes flying (and I passed by a major airport everyday.)


How about you? If you are old enough, do you remember where you were and what you were doing when these things happened? Other major events that you recall so vividly?
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Old 12-08-2014, 02:37 PM   #2
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not much about JFK ( I was around 3 then )

Challenger. I was sitting in a chair getting a haircut, it was running on the news. I noticed the small flame shooting out the side near the booster and said to others that doesn't look right, a few seconds later....

9/11 on the way in to w*rk after having been on night shift. A radio program ( John Boy and Billy ) was signing off for the morning and mentioned a report of a plane hitting the WTC. They brought up the incident when the plane hit the empire state building way back. All assumed it was just a small private plane.

'87 crash. At w*rk, trying to get through to place buy orders but lines were all jammed.
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Old 12-08-2014, 02:46 PM   #3
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JFK, same as you.

Challenger, same as you.

9/11, I was retired finishing up breakfast when I heard on the radio a small plane had impacted one of the twin towers.
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Old 12-08-2014, 02:49 PM   #4
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The long-ago event that made the biggest impression on me was July 20, 1969 when humans reached the moon.

I vividly remember being in the car with a bunch of friends, listening to the landing on the car radio.

Later, we all gathered at someone's house to watch Armstrong step out on the surface. It boggled our minds that such a thing could be televised live. I still get chills thinking about that incredible achievement.
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Old 12-08-2014, 03:04 PM   #5
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JFK: not born yet.

Challenger: I was watching it live in Grade school.

911: I worked until 7am and went to bed at 8am central time without turning the tv or radio on. I woke up at 3:30pm then took a shower. I finally turned on the tv to see the news at just after 4pm. I watched all the replays while getting ready for work. Then left for work at 6:30pm. At the place I worked at the time, you had to actually work when you were at work so I didn't have time to talk to co-workers about it let alone continue watching tv coverage. I had to wait until the next day when I was off work to get all the details.
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Old 12-08-2014, 03:14 PM   #6
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I remember all of those very well. for 22 Nov 63 I was in a high school psychology class and don't remember anything about the day prior to the knock on the classroom door when our teacher was informed of the shooting. I remember the rest of the day like it just happened. I was at work when the Challenger disaster happened. We were in the middle of an IG inspection when 9/11 happened. Needless to say the inspection was cut short.
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Old 12-08-2014, 03:26 PM   #7
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In 1968 I was 15 years old, couldn't drive yet, and remember 1968 very clearly: War. Assassinations. Riots of all sorts. love it or leave it bumper stickers. SDS sit-ins. Mexico City Olympics. Johnson didn't run. McCarthy & Wallace made a big splash. Nixon's elected. It was quite tumultus. And definitely influenced my world view for life. To me most of the world events since 1968 seem like ghostly aftershocks, and don't seem to happen in clusters like what happened in 1968. The only event remotely close is the current streak unarmed civilians being shot by police. It brings back some bad memories of worse times.
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Old 12-08-2014, 03:27 PM   #8
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JFK - My 6th grade teacher left the room suddenly. Before she came back one of my classmates came into the room and screamed that the President was shot. Then the teacher came back and told us (again).
Challenger - I was at work. I was somewhat prescient. I mentioned aloud that I hoped the accident wasn't due to NASA feeling politically pressured to go forward with the launch even if conditions weren't right.

9/11: I worked less than half mile from the towers and could see them from my office. I was not in my office when the first plane hit, but when the second one hit I saw the fireball (my office was on opposite side of the plane collision). Moments later my window shook from the shock wave.
One of my employees lived near me, and happened to drive in to work that day. We quickly got in his car. I had been a taxi driver when in college; so I knew of the small bridge at northern tip of Manhattan (Broadway) and we got to the Bronx. All of the other bridges were closed. From there we had to drive some 50 miles north to Beacon to cross the Hudson and then go back 50+ miles south to get home. Traffic was stopped dead on the two closer bridges (Tappan Zee and Bear Mountain).
We had stopped in Beacon to hit the rest room. I distinctly recall the incongruity. It was very quiet, and an absolutely gorgeous day, yet hell on earth had come.
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Old 12-08-2014, 03:33 PM   #9
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JFK - I was in Jr. High art class, they just turned on a radio station to the loudspeakers in the classrooms.

Challenger - That was moving day for me. I had just bought a house after my divorce and got a little annoyed at the crew (half a dozen guys from my shift at work) standing in front of the TV. Only when one of them told me what happened did I understand why they were standing there.

9/11/2001 - I was in a class for a computer forensics software application when somebody told us what happened because he had a news feed open in a window on his computer. The instructor went out and bought a TV that he left on the rest of the day with the volume turned down. One of the guys in the class had a sister who worked in the WTC. She did not make it out. DW and I had just signed the contract for the house in WV where we're living now two days before and later we were wondering if half the DC area was going to follow us to WV.
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Old 12-08-2014, 04:41 PM   #10
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The long-ago event that made the biggest impression on me was July 20, 1969 when humans reached the moon. I vividly remember being in the car with a bunch of friends, listening to the landing on the car radio.
Me too. I was still in the UK then, driving back in my car from a friend's house on the south coast. Had Voice of America on my short wave radio, and followed the landing drama as it happened.
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Old 12-08-2014, 04:51 PM   #11
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1963-JFK--I was in the 4th grade and my teacher came in the classroom and told us the President had been shot. She told us to put our heads down on our desks and pray for his recovery. She came in later in tears to say that he was dead.

I don't remember where I was for Challenger. In 1986 I lived in Columbus OH and worked part-time on campus. Had a 3-year-old who had to be ferried back and forth to daycare and was running all over the place then very self-absorbed.


Sept. 11, 2001---I was at work and my husband called me in shock to say a plane had just flown into one of the World Trade Towers. We both thought it was some sort of aviation accident at that time.
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Old 12-08-2014, 06:08 PM   #12
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Of course, RFK an MLK too. I was too young to remember JFK.

I still vividly remember when Regan was shot as I was at a college bookstore before a class and heard the news broadcast over the store's radio.
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Old 12-08-2014, 06:37 PM   #13
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Here's another one - the morning of Feb 1, 2003 when the space shuttle Columbia broke up while reentering the atmosphere for landing. I saw the first news of something going wrong on TV and I wanted to make sure our 18 year old son at college was watching. He has been a space program geek since he was very small. He followed every space shuttle flight and studied the Soviet space program, too.

I called him at his dorm (no cell phone) and it rang and rang. Tried again at least 5 more times hoping he'd answer. I tried to reach him on instant messaging and got no response. I figured he must have found out about the disaster and gone to a lounge to watch it on TV.

A few hours later he saw my messages and called home. He had been sleeping and didn't bother to answer the phone because he figured the call was for his roommate. He went back to sleep and missed the whole thing. By the time he found out about it they were in recovery stages, finding pieces and trying to figure out what happened.

Sept 11, 2001 - DH was at work, kids in high school and I was home alone on my computer doing my morning browsing. Saw a headline on Yahoo about the first plane and turned on CNN, ABC and NBC, flipping through stations. When the 2nd plane hit I called DH to tell him to get to a tv at work. I watched the disaster all morning in tears, just horrified and scared. After all air traffic was halted I heard a plane outside (military, maybe?) and almost dove under the dining room table.

DH came home during his lunch hour and wanted to take a TV back to the office with him. We were a Neilsen ratings family at the time and he had to unplug all the monitoring equipment in order to take it with him. When the kids came home from school they said the school announced what had happened but didn't let them watch any of it.
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Old 12-08-2014, 06:58 PM   #14
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9/11
I was in Baton Rouge taking a contractor's license test. They let us know about 1 hour after it happened. I finished as fast as I could and drove my rental car back to St. Louis. Crazy day. Heard the towers go down on the radio. Thought we lost 50,000 people at that time. Amazing so many got out and survived.
To me, that was the most significant event in my adulthood.
I remember JFK, MLK, RFK but was in elementary and junior high.


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Old 12-08-2014, 07:13 PM   #15
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All the manned Mercury flights. The Cuban missle crisis(I didn't really want to watch but DM insisted. Later I found out DB was on an aircraft carrier off the cost).

JFK First grade Principal called a special recess. When it was over he announced the event on the PA, school was shutting down.
RFK stayed up most of the night with a transistor radio in my ear.
MLK remember asking parents why?
The Austin Texas tower shooter.

Challanger, watched at work on a 12" TV, we kept watching hoping that something would change.

911 I was sick the night before took a dose of Nyquil about 2AM. Next morning a friend called DW. She cried and turned on TV. I heard it and got up, the Nyquil had my head all fuzzy. I watched the coverage in total disbelief, I was hoping the Nyquil was causing me to imagine what the TV was saying. I kept asking DW is this real?

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Old 12-08-2014, 07:20 PM   #16
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1) 11/22/1963 - JKFs assassination We were gathering for homeroom period in 10th grade. The boy who was our "class clown" told a few of us that JFK had been assassinated, and we thought he was joking so we were laughing and teasing him about it. When our homeroom teacher arrived in tears, we knew it wasn't a joke. We were told on the speaker that we could either spend our time in study hall, or we could go to the school auditorium to watch the coverage on what was considered to be a big screen TV in those days. (Not big by modern standards!). I went to watch the coverage. We sat in the second row and cried together. Two days later on the evening news, after school, I saw Oswald shot live on TV. My family was very upset because of the unexpected violence and because history would never know what Oswald had to say about the assassination.

2) 1/28/1986 - Space Shuttle Challenger disaster I had the day off for some reason, and I was sleeping when I had a terrifyingly realistic nightmare about falling, falling, falling from outer space. I awakened, completely freaked out, sweaty, and not knowing who or where I was for a moment. I turned on the TV to calm myself down, and found out the news. Later I had to pick up my 7 year old astronaut-wannabe daughter from school and tell her about the tragedy. Thank goodness, the school had already broken the news to them in a kind way.

3) 9/11/2001 - 911 I was late to work and heard on the Today show (or Good Morning America?) that a plane had flown into the WTC, and it was probably a small private aircraft. I raced out of the house to work, and by the time I got there it had been established that it was a large commercial aircraft. When the second plane hit, we gathered in the conference room and watched the coverage on TV in horror. When the towers fell, I knew I had just seen a tremendous tragedy and could not watch it any more for a while. I e-mailed Frank, who was away doing contract work close enough to the WTC to see the plumes of smoke but I could not get through to him (or vice versa). He was worried about me, too. What a relief when we heard from one another later that evening.
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Old 12-08-2014, 07:25 PM   #17
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Here's another one - the morning of Feb 1, 2003 when the space shuttle Columbia broke up while reentering the atmosphere for landing.
I remember that one too. I'm not sure where I was or what I was doing that particular day but I recall talking to some friends a few days later and they claimed they heard the sonic boom (over northeast Texas) as the space craft was coming down. In east Texas, I remember seeing the electronic traffic signs for the next few weeks asking people to report any possible debris they may have found.

I recall this video of the breakup was played every where at the time.

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Old 12-08-2014, 07:59 PM   #18
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Thankfully the draft ended a few years before it would have affected me.

I was at my first job out of college for the Challenger explosion.

As for 9/11, at the time I drove past the Pentagon to work every day, but that morning my dentist office called asking if I could come in very early that morning (7:00 AM instead of my apt for the following day). So instead of being at work (or driving by) when it happened, I knew nothing until getting out of dentist and starting my drive to work. As they said what happened in NYC on the radio, the first thing in my mind was "The pentagon is next". It was hit before I made it there.

I worked in the top floor of a tall building not far from the Pentagon (and was in the building about a month earlier) and when I arrived at work the women were freaking out, saying we're next. The guys (and me) were saying "who would want to hit this non-descript building?" As a government contractor at the time, that screwed with lots of contracts and within a year I was unemployed. Thankfully the next (and still current) job while paying a little less is way more secure, so it was all good in the end (for me).
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Old 12-08-2014, 10:56 PM   #19
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All of the things mentioned were memorable and I can remember exactly where I was and what I was doing. However, the most traumatic moment in my life happened during June of 1953. I was at my grandparent's house in the country and my grandfather had the radio on. Out of the blue, I was told by the guy on the radio that the government had executed the Rosenbergs. This was a complete shock to this ten-year-old that someone could be killed on purpose and be considered a good thing. I had nightmares for weeks and periodically for years after.
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Old 12-08-2014, 10:59 PM   #20
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The recent thread on the death of John Lennon got me thinking. A lot of tragic things have happen in the world during my 60+ years but a few events must have really struck me since I can remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when they happened. (almost like it was yesterday)....

How about you? If you are old enough, do you remember where you were and what you were doing when these things happened? Other major events that you recall so vividly?
Yeah, I do! And a lot of highly enjoyable events too!
Like that Sunday evening the Beatles debuted on The Ed Sullivan Show.
Or the day we landed on the moon.
And how about that one day, after so many, many disappointing days in my life, the Seahawks won the Super Bowl!
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