Where were you when…?

Lifted this off Bill Degenaro’s blog, from which he’d lifted it from Parts ‘n’ Pieces–

1.) Challenger space shuttle explodes (1986): In the den at my mom’s old house.  I was a senior in high school, home sick, talking on the phone with my girlfriend at the time, who was also home sick.  She had the TV on and reminded me to watch the launch; we saw the explosion.

2.) Berlin Wall falls down (1989): I was in college and have almost no memory of this.  Remember bits and pieces of news clips.

3.) Oklahoma City federal building bombing (1995): Living in Atlanta before moving to Tallahassee to start grad school at FSU.  I was getting ready to go to work as a canvasser in the US PIRG Atlanta canvass office.  Couldn’t believe we didn’t call off the canvass that day; still can’t.  It was an awful day, not just for canvassing, but for trying to talk to anybody who didn’t already share my politics.  Lots of “Let’s nuke the sandnigger” kind of stuff on the streets, even though, as we knew soon thereafter, the bomber was a white USAmerican.

4.) OJ Verdict (1995): I must have been in Florida by then, in which case I wouldn’t have had a TV.  Chrys and I lived without one for a long time.

5.) Princess Diana dies (1997): I remember less the original announcement, and more CNN’s “And for this hour’s update, we have nothing new to report.”  It was the first time I was angry at a news source for making a non-story a story (not her death, but the trickle of new information, which became the story itself).

6.) Columbine massacre (1999): In Syracuse.  I dimly remember being in my office following it online, but I’m not too sure about that.  Remember watching the evening and national broadcast news reports with housemates.

7.) JFK Jr. Plane crash (1999): Oddly enough, in Atlanta at Mom’s house again.  Seems like my visits there brought tragedy.  OK, not really.  Again I found the “we’re waiting for news” news really irritating.  A couple of days later, my friend Mark and I were on the way out the door to go somewhere; without thinking about it, I’d put on my Dead Kennedys “Bedtime for Democracy” t-shirt.  Mark sent me back inside to change.  Good call.

8.) Bush/Gore crazy election (2000): Syracuse.  Too stunned that W was even in contention to flip out publically about the court problem.

9.) September 11, (2001): In the SU Writing Center, working with a student.  The door flies open, a student runs in, screams, “Oh my god!  They just blew up the World Trade Center!”  The five or so people in the room all looked up at him, irritated because we thought he was kidding.  Somebody (must have been him) tried to get on-line, and when we realized all the internet news sites were jammed up, we realized something was wrong.  I went to my office, right downstairs, and grabbed the portable radio we had in there.  We sat in the Writing Center listening to the news.  Being in Syracuse, only four hours from Manhatten, it didn’t take long before we realized that there had to be people we knew, or who knew people we knew, there.  That turned out to be true for much of the campus.  The next few days were total stunned silence.  Must have been Sept 14 or 15 somebody hosted a speakout I attended.  The one and only time I’ve ever used a bullhorn, and I hope the last.

10.) Space ship Columbia disintegrates (2003): On break during a Chester County Peace Movement Draft Counselor Training.  Somebody got a phone call; we found a working TV in the church and watched for about an hour.  Then we went right back to our training.

11.) Hurricane Katrina hits (2005): Watching the coverage on TV in my old, very small apartment.  I’d lived in Florida long enough to see hurricanes, but nothing like that.  Didn’t take long before I recognized how incredibly screwed up the whole response was.  Nearly threw something threw the tv a few days later when Barbara Bush announced that the evacuees in the Astrodome really comfortable and it was almost like a vacation.  Among the least empathetic things I’ve ever heard come out of the mouth of an adult human being.

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