Monday, January 09, 2006

Where were you when.... 

Here's another one of those chain-type posts that can be fun. Hube, borrowing from another blog he read, lists where he was when a number of historical events went down.

So here's where I was when....

* ...September 11th attacks happened: I was parking my car at precisely 9:46. I was listening to my station on the radio and heard our anchor abruptly go to a network update. It was clear he didn't have much warning, so that piqued my interest. I sat in the car and heard the CBS reporter -- who I thought at the time was at the scene -- say that a small plane had hit the WTC. So I flipped off the ignition and went about my business. I stopped at my Dad's office an hour later, and that's when I found out. We went to the Pitt student union and joined the throngs of people packed into a room with a TV. That's where we watched the second tower fall as I tried in vain to get through to Gobo on the cell phone.

* ...The (first) Gulf War began: I was 16, sitting at the dinner table at home. We were eating some kind of noodle-based dinner and I believe it was the late, great Peter Jennings on the kitchen TV who let us know.

* ...Challenger exploded: I have an ongoing argument with my Mom about this, and my fellow Pittsburgh Public School friends may be able to settle it. I remember clearly being home from school and calling my Mom into the TV room from her bedroom after it happened. Anyone else remember being at home? Was it a snow day? Have I always remembered this wrong?

* ...Columbia was destroyed: I was using my stereo as an alarm clock at that point in time, and it was set to the FM oldies station. The first thing I heard was unmistakably a network news report. This particular station would never normally carry live news coverage of anything. So as I was waking up, even before I could figure out the subject of the coverage, my stomach sank because I knew it had to be bad.

* ...The Berlin Wall fell: I know I watched some of it. But at 14, I probably had other things on my mind. I did follow news back then, but even though I knew it was a big deal, I still lacked the broader historical context needed to really grasp its significance.

* ...Clinton was acquitted by Senate: Like Hube, I don't remember. The whole thing was such an ever-present embarassment for a year or two, I was probably numb by the end. And as I recall, by the time it came to a vote, there was little chance of conviction.

* ...Election Night 2000 turned kooky: I was working, so I was at some local political headquarters. I remember thinking, "Well, they'll have it all squared away by the time I get back to the station." I really wasn't that stressed out about it. Mostly just intrigued. Remember, at that time I was (and, as I explained a while ago, still am at heart) a moderate who believes the answers to most political questions lies "somewhere in between." It was only after President Bush took office and the neocons showed their true colors that I became furious. That particular night in November of 2000, I was still very much a Democrat -- but I was at least giving this Texas doof the benefit of the doubt as a "compassionate conservative." What a sucker I was. I don't know how I would survive such an election debacle today, caring as deeply as I do about getting our government back on the right track -- or at least, off the wrong one.

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