I was just reading a wonderful, thought provoking post called "Do You Remember John F. Kennedy?" on the blog Barbara's Kitchen Table. Barbara talks about the various reactions to this question in a diversity training class and recalls her own memory of when JFK was shot.
Certain memories are tremendously powerful and often contribute universally to the memory of a nation. These are the memories that when we think back, we know exactly where we were and what we were doing at that exact moment.
I have two such memories (maybe I'll think of more later?)
John Lennon's Death
When John Lennon died perhaps it didn't impact the world quite as much as when John F. Kennedy died but it was one of those unforgettable moments in my life. I remember exactly what I was doing clear as if it were happening right now. I was in 7th grade and I was the first one downstairs reading the newspaper. Lennon's death was the headline in the paper. My older brother, who worshiped John Lennon, strolled downstairs and I told him the news. At first he didn't believe me. Then I remember watching his shocked look as he sat down and it sunk in. That evening we watched on tv as hundreds of people left flowers outside the Dakota building.
This event of course impacted not just the United States but also the world. I don't think I will ever forget this day. It was so surreal. I was nine months pregnant with my second child at the time. I remember the powerful emotions I felt when watching the news programs. I made a conscious choice that day not to watch the tv coverage. I felt the emotions were too strong and the grief could impact my unborn baby. So I chose to acknowledge it but not get trapped into watching endless coverage of the event.
An interesting part of Barbara's post discussed the "memory" of people who witnessed events live and those who learned about them later. Both groups can have strong emotions about an event but only one group actually witnessed it.
Thanks Barbara for the great food for thought.
I would be interested to hear what some of the momentous events in your life were that you will never forget.