I remember where I was when I heard that Dr. King passed away. The events that I recall that way are:
|Event||Where I was|
|Assassination of President Kennedy||Fifth grade|
|Assassination of Dr. King||Junior High School|
|Man landing on the moon||My parents’ bedroom|
|Space shut Challenger blowing up||Lexington Market|
The Kennedy assassination was a lot more shocking then than it would be today when there is so much gun violence. We were sent home from school. Maybe they thought Oswald was going to come to New York and shoot us.
Dr. King’s assassination was in the evening. Our junior high school had an annual event called spaghetti night where the parents came to school in the evening. That’s where we found out.
I remember going into my parents’ bedroom to watch the astronauts walking on the moon – they had a black and white TV that was probably 15 inches, certainly no more than 19 inches.
This is a fascinating chart by the Pew Research Center showing what each generation thinks were the most memorable events in their lifetime. Notice that everyone agrees on 9/11 no matter how old they were. Now we have almost a generation of people who weren’t alive for it.
I have found that there is nothing like living through an event. I can’t explain how these major events felt in a way that would really make you understand them if you didn’t live them. On the other hand, they provide a common experience for all of us who did live through them. Just as I can’t really convey the Kennedy assassination to young people, I now realize that my parents thought that we didn’t understand the Depression and World War II. They were right.
On a lighter note:
I was in a class at work about working in a multi-generational workforce. You had to write down three events important to your generation and pass your paper to someone else at your table to read.
A young black woman had included the assassination of Biggie and Tupac (which she spelled as 2Pac). An older white guy read it aloud as the assassination of ZPac. Lol. I don’t know any of Tupac’s songs but I know who he was and would recognize his picture. We should all know who important people were.