My mother remembered where she was and what she was wearing when Kennedy was shot. She was 16 years old and probably a sophomore in high school. She remembered it vividly as if time stood still and the oxygen across this entire country had been sucked away by a black hole and no one could breathe.
I can say the same about events that have taken place in my lifetime. I vividly remember where I was when these world events took place:
1- 1974 - Nixon’s resignation speech - I was 5 years old and in what we now call “time out” and that was what was on the TV.
2- 1977 - Elvis died, mainly because my mother was crying and I didn’t understand why. It wasn’t like she knew him.
3- 1979- Three Mile Island – I was living in NY at the time and didn’t understand why everyone was wigging out. I was 11. They didn’t make as big of a deal out of it then as they would if the same thing happened today. We were fortunate.
4- In 1981 Both President Regan and Pope John Paul II were shot and wounded.I was still in catholic school at the time.
5- In 1997- princess Diana was killed in a car accident. I watched her funeral on TV
6- In 1998 – The Monica Lewinsky thing. I was in bed after getting all wisdom teeth taken out and it was on every channel.
7- 1999- Columbine High Shootings- unbelievable that kids would even do something like that to each other.
8- 2001 – 9/11 – I remember looking out the window at my office thinking what a clear blue day for something so awful. This was the first time I actually used the internet to stay on top of what was happening.
9- 2008- First African American man elected president of United States. I know it was a big deal but in my mind he was just another man that had been elected president. So many times in my life I don't look at things as black or white. I dont think that should be what defines the man and his ability to do his job.
10- Daily Since 2001 it seems that the news is filled with terrorists and what they are doing. Sometimes I think that the media attention fuels them to get meaner, more viscous and more extreme in their tactics to achieve their goals. I cant for the life of me understand why someone would hate americans, or anyone unlike them for that matter, enough to commit mass murder of innocent people and die along with them. It makes no sense to me.
I remember each of these incidents over the last 40 years. 9 out of 10 events are not positive or celebratory events in world history. The impact of the devastating events is what makes its mark on our memory. I honestly don’t know if I could list just as many positive world events that I can recall in my lifetime, without having to look them up.
What does that say about us? What does that say about the world we have created that when asked about world events that are burned in our memory not a single one is a happy or joyous event. I have a book full of happy events that are in my own little circle of existence but as far as worldwide.. nope.How do we fix that? Can’t the media start trying to balance the bad news with an equal amount of good news? Show everyone that the world can be a wonderful place and you don’t have to look too hard to see it. I am trying to do that with my kids. At least I can show them that our planet is not a punishment or trial we have to muddle through to get to the next level of existence. Life is what you make of it and as my Granny would say “The Lord won’t put any more on you than you can bear, but he sure can bend you double sometimes.”