On this anniversary of Pearl Harbor (my great-uncle Eddie Fiddock was there), I got to thinking about this topic of conversation that came up at a family gathering one year. My parents said Pearl Harbor. For me it was the Kennedy assassination (more RFK than JFK, though I barely remember the JFK assassination when I was seven.) For my son it was the fall of the Berlin Wall, and for my daughter the Oklahoma City bombing. These things really mark the generations, and I got curious. I'm sure I've forgotten some in my list, so feel free to add others. I realize that my list is pretty USA-centric, since it's based on my own experience.
I can't remember if I've done this poll before, but if so, I'm sure there are more people here now.
Also, how old were you at the time? In my family, the age seems to be about 6-11.
(This post was edited by Ataahua on Dec 7 2011, 10:35pm)
I was almost 6. My parents were really happy - they were Republicans until the party took a giant step to the right in the 70s and left them stranded. Soon after, I remember going outside one night to look up and see Sputnik pass by overhead, the first satellite ever. When I was 10, the Beatles hit big in the US with "I Want to Hold Your Hand." I was 11 when JFK was assassinated and I remember every detail of where I was and what was going on when we heard. That was the defining moment of our generation for sure - the assassinations 5 years later of Martin Luther King Jr. and RFK, along with the escalating Vietnam War, made me feel pretty hopeless for a long time about our country, although the first walk on the moon in 1969 was a bright spot.
I was 6 years old in first grade and sometime in the early afternoon the principle came in with a very grim look on her face and spoke to our teacher. At some point after that we were all herded into a larger classroom where they had us all sing America the Beautiful or the Star Spangled Banner (can't remember which) and then they told us Kennedy had been shot--possibly that he had died (this was in eastern Nebraska, so I suppose we'd have been an hour later time-wise). About an hour later when school was out at 3:15 I walked the mile back to my house and found my mom sitting on the edge of my bed with the strangest sad look on her face as she tried to smile at me and soften it a bit while she tried to explain it to me.
Nobody really knew what to do--certainly not at my school, although it was obvious they were trying to give it some thought.
The worst was the next day on the playground where some second grade boy was telling everyone rather belligerently how his dad said he was glad Kennedy was shot because Kennedy was a Democrat, or something to that. effect
Very odd week, that was. I even remember it was sunny on the day it happened, and cloudy the next on that playground.
I don't know if it was the first Sputnik, which was launched in 1957 - I would have been only 3 at that time - but I remember my Dad taking my brothers and me outside late at night, to watch as it passed overhead, like a tiny star.
The Kenneday assassination: they let us out of school early, and as we walked home some kid kept saying that Kruschev was going to come and take over...
I was nine, and remember the TV news stories that a plane with 257 people on board had disappeared on its way back from Antarctica and had so many hours of fuel left. The hours counted down, then the deadline passed as there was still no word about the plane.
The wreckage was found on Mt Erebus a few hours later.
I was about 8, and I remember everyone being really upset but I didn't really understand why she was so popular (I also remember disliking 'Candle in the Wind' intensely for some reason. Odd).
Then the internet began to really take off for the 'ordinary man on the street', and presenters began to start giving email addresses and websites for the audience to contact programmes with, complete with the ninja like 'forward slash' hand gesture. So 90s!
My first 'big' news story would have been the war in Afghanistan (I think - it was definitely a military invasion, and I was about 10). I remember seeing it on 'Newsround' (a children's magazine news programme) and seeing all of the footage of tanks - quite scary. I went on the BBC news site afterwards to try and understand it more - I am ashamed to say that I still don't fully understand all of the motives/consequences.
(This post was edited by Nightingale on Dec 7 2011, 6:50pm)
Well, if some nice admin would change my accidental "Other" vote to "Watergate", I'll be all set.
[In reply to]
I accidentally hit "other" before I saw "Watergate".
Anyway, I was age 5 when it started, and age 7 when Nixon resigned. Mostly, I just remember a lot of hullabaloo on tv that I didn't understand, and lots of Nixon.
The thing that cemented this memory, though, has more to do with some little things my grandma made. She made "Watergate Bugs" out of polished rocks and jewelry findings and sold them at local craft fairs. My brothers and I even played with some she gave us.
The next big memory is Jimmy Carter's inauguration. I mostly remember how he and Mrs. Carter walked up Pennsylvania Avenue during the parade, and sometimes their daughter, Amy, walked with them. I think I was more impressed by the fact that Amy was only a year younger than I and was going to get to live in the White House.
Yeah, probably not big in the States or even elsewhere in the west, but huge here in Northern Europe. The ferry cruiser MS Estonia sank in September 1994 in Finnish waters in the Baltic Sea when sailing from Estonia to Sweden.
852 people died, 137 survived. I was 7 years old when it happened.
I still remember the news images of the storming cold, grey water and the orange lifeboats, the hypothermiatic survivors and the stories I heard of what happened on the ship. I might have only imagined the dead bodies based on the news and the stories, or maybe they were seen too on the news.
Anyway. The ship sank in the waters off the coast of my home city. Ferries and ships are a huge industry here and part of the continuing heartbeat of the city. Sea is just out there, with its gentle waves and the innumerable islands of the Turku archipelago.
I love it. The sea.
Now when I think about it, that incident might have been part of me growing to have such respect for nature - Not the approving respect of the superior who allows his inferiors to live because it happens to please her, but the fearful and loving respect of someone oh so very little who understands how dependant she is of the mighty universe around her.
Oh, and I fear sailing. Even though I've traveled by the ferries to Sweden and Estonia many times. I wonder why...
(This post was edited by Faenoriel on Dec 7 2011, 8:42pm)
Only a year old when Pearl Harbor was bombed, but I have a lot of memories of wartime, and fairly clear memory of VE-Day (when Germany surrendered). Subsequently, when Japan surrendered I was very confused, because I thought the war was already over and didn't understand why everyone was celebrating again.
I can remember quite a lot about JFK's assassination (I was 11). The event, the lying in state, and the funeral procession. And my dad bought the Time Life book about the event so I grew up reading it and looking at the pictures over and over again. Those images are burned in my memory.