The 21st anniversary of 9/11 was just over a week ago. It is one of those days where almost everyone can remember where they were that morning. I was at a service club meeting where a cell phone ringing was a fine and so almost no one got calls. The first got jeering and the second brought surprise, mine was the third and I knew something was wrong because three more phones went off before I could answer. Nothing could have prepared me for what my wife was telling me. We are under attack, she told me and while we were on the phone, the second plane hit. We hung up and she headed to the school to pick up our children and I went to the office where no one had heard anything yet. I sent everyone home and then went home myself to watch in horror as the morning went on. My parents always talked about where they were when they learned of Pearl Harbor and for many of us this was a similar moment. Thousands of lives lost in moments and scars that will last a lifetime.
Hopefully, there will be no such moment in the next generation but it got me to thinking not just of tragic events but of other moments sealed in the national conscience. I was in Mrs. Wolfe’s class in Bradenton when we learned that JFK was shot.
The moon landing of 1969 was one of my first positive national events. Almost everyone who could was sitting in front of a television. Our family gathered in front of our new color television to watch an event broadcast in black and white. At the time, I just knew we would have a colony on the moon in no time. Maybe one day we will all be sitting in front of a screen watching the first landing of people on Mars or at least revisiting the moon.
I tried to think of similar events and couldn’t think of any where we were all of one mind so I tried to think of personally memorable events. The birth of my first niece came to mind before even the birth of my own children. In my defense, Shannon’s birth was before I married or had any prospect of children. Many of us have had graduations, marriage, the birth of our children, first paycheck or last paycheck are all memorable events.
Do you remember your first conversation with your parents as adults? One of my awkward moments was being expected to call my parent’s friends by their first names. All my life around the dinner table their friends were Bill and Marie but face to face they were Mr. & Mrs. Anderson. Suddenly having Mr. Anderson tell me to call him Bill was almost undoable. What are your special memories? Have you told someone else or written them down? Few of us will ever write a book but all of us can leave memories behind. Remember and be thankful.