Okay, now that my brain has settled....think about how there are some things so ingrained in our memory, even if they didnt happen directly to us, we knew what we were doing at the very minute that they happened. It seems that every generation has one or two of those instances, where you can ask the question "where were you?" of anybody you come across, and they'll know exactly what they were doing. Here are some of the things that come to mind, spanning the last 60 years:
-Pearl Harbor is Attacked
-Cuban missle crisis (granted, it lasted longer, but unforgettable)
-Kennedy is shot
-The Challenger explodes
-9-11 Terrorist attacks
-Beltway sniper attacks
Notice they all have to do with tragic loss. The iron curtain fell in Europe, a good thing, but I'm a bit more fuzzy on what I was doing then. perhaps some people remember the Lunar Landing in the same light, but we certainly dont speak of the repercussions the same way. Totally different vibes are created. I know what I was doing when I learned of every single attack from the DC Sniper. I remember vividly. I remember the fear. the fear that had to be similar (though probably less intense) than that of the Cuban Missle Crisis. This last one on my list I grant is not as far reaching, and well known, but around DC it is.
The two that most influenced me would have to the be the Sniper and 9-11. In both cases we're confronted with a dark piece of information that something has gone drastically wrong, in a place dangerously close to our loved ones. The pentagon is attacked, federal buildings are evacuated, the city is a mess, another plane is coming in. Where is my father? Is he okay? Where will he be when this other plane comes in? Suddenly the fact that he works in FBI Headquarters isnt so exciting. Another shooting. This time in early morning at a PG county school while busses are unloading. Which school? Was it a teacher? Are they okay? Okay, so its not a teacher. So my mom is safe. But then I find the school is in my hometown. 3 hours before he struck I had driven past the very spot where the sniper supposedly made a "nest". According to the cops he was there then. waiting. creepy. very creepy.
Its amazing the imprint on our lives these evil people can make....