Five Big Moments In Time

Several conversations of late reminded me of significant moments in time. These events occurred in history and were so substantive that they left permanently etched memories. Most commonly cited are 9-11 (#1 moment in time for me) and the JFK assassination.

Here are five of those moments in my mind:

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1) 9-11: Unbelievably awful, I was making sales calls when the news broke. I opened my office door, and saw madness and mayhem as TMP Worldwide’s (now Monster) offices were transformed into a veritable riot of screaming, running people. I walked to the other side of the building into someone’s office (was it yours, Bob?), and watched the small plume of smoke rise into the sky… The Pentagon burned before our eyes. That began a long day of hell that still brings tears to my eyes.

2) Challenger Tragedy (1985): We watched it on TV as part of our science class. My 8th grade teacher broke into tears, and the principal got on the PA to announce the tragedy. I think I laughed, because I was a 13 year-old immature child. Looking back, this was a bit surreal. I do not remember where I was when the Columbia succumbed.

pulitzer_reagan_shot_sequence_L.jpg3) Reagan Gets Shot (1981): This one broke the twenty year curse, in which presidents died mysteriously who were elected on year’s ending in 0 (dating back to Lincoln). A nine year old, I was watching the Brady Bunch reruns at the time on Channel 29 in Philly. All I could think about was the other Brady who got shot in the head. It was weird, and I don’t think I fully understood what happened.

4) OJ Gets Arrested (1994): The OJ Simpson police car chase on the 405 was simply amazing. I was finishing a wait shift at Quigley’s on New Mexico Avenue in DC when this one occurred. It was compelling enough to stay and watch it finish unfolding over a couple of pints. What a shock, as this hero became the ultimate villain overnight.

5) We Bombed Iraq (1990) (the first time): At my first college (Syracuse, later transferred to American), getting bombed at Sutter’s Mill when this one occurred. Packs of 18 and 19 year old boys drinking illegally watched in fear as we thought we would soon be drafted.

7 Replies to “Five Big Moments In Time”

  1. Challenger:
    …growing up in Oklahoma and en route to algebra from gym class. The principal announced the explosion school-wide and all started the class with a period of respectful silence.

    911:
    …en route home on foot from work in DC’s Dupont Circle with husband on flight en route to Durham. He was grounded immediately and we connected eventually, with gracious relief, via cell. It took him a few days to get back home. A friend’s husband worked in the Pentagon’s lower level that day. She couldn’t reach him via any phone #. We waited together at their home for his safe return (which was a gorgeous thing to witness).

    First Iraq Bomb:
    …was leaving my dorm at Southern Methodist U in Dallas when a friend leaned out his window and screamed, “Hey we bombed Iraq.” I went to the commons area with friends to stay glued to the news for hours. Many students wept; I remember being confused on why we were there but not necessarily angry just bewildered by potential consequences.

    Happier and unrelated:
    …a congrats card sits on my desk for one Livingston CEO. It’s my fond hope it’s sent before voting day!

    …ending a late night on Twitter right now so ciao.

  2. I learned about the JFK assassination as school dismissed one afternoon; I was 12. Our family was headed to Houston for the Thanksgiving holidays, and I remember being at my great aunt’s house and watching the news coverage over and over. The moment that stands out to me, even now, was young JFK, Jr. (John-John) saluting his father’s coffin.

    The other historical event that made a deep impact on me was the first moon landing. I still have the Polaroid photo I took of the TV screen, freezing that moment in time when man first stepped onto the surface of the moon.

  3. 9-11 was nuts. I was at Viget’s old Arlington office, not far from the Pentagon. We all huddled around the TV and communicated with other folks as best we could — mostly IM & email since mobile phones didn’t work. I remember all kinds of rumors flying around — lots of stuff that turned out to not be true. At one point we broke onto the roof and watched the jets fly around.

    As a kid, I remember the news when Len Bias died (June 19, 1986).

  4. 1. 9-11.
    I had helped put together some amazing PR strategy work the night before for an artist I was working for. So that morning, I was taking a luxurious few extra hours to sleep in as a reward. I was temporarily living at home, and my father ran into the room to wake me and tell me that two planes had hit the World Trade Center. My first words were: “Oh my god … did they hit Tel Aviv, too?”

    My two overwhelming memories of that day:

    A> Seeing Carol Marin’s hands shaking as she tried to describe on CBS how she had narrowly missed being killed in the rubble. This is a woman I grew up watching on Chicago news for her strength and fortitude. I wanted to hug her.

    B> Finally turning off the news after nine hours to go outside and take a walk with my family. I remember being amazed not to hear planes in the sky.

    2. Columbia disintegrates.
    My new girlfriend and I were spending a wonderful weekend at a hotel together. She got up to go get breakfast, and came back five minutes later saying that she thought she had heard the space shuttle had blown up. Knowing I was a space geek, she hugged me and then turned on CNN for me. (Two years later, we were married)

    3. Barack Obama’s speech at the 2004 convention
    Partisan politics aside, this is the only time I can remember crying during a political speech. I still listen to it on my iPod from time to time as an example of the power of rhetoric and oratory.

    4. Watching the Cubs win their first playoff game in 39 years
    Wednesday, October 2, 1984. I was nine years old. My mother let me skip school so my father could take me to the game. I have so many vivid memories from this day, it’s hard to keep track:
    – Taking the el to the ballpark
    – Singing “Go Cubs Go” with all the fans
    – Sitting in the bleachers for the first time
    – Watching a home run land 20 feet from us
    – and so much more.

  5. Love seeing everyone’s take on this. It’s amazing to have these permanently etched in your brain.

    Jill: You and I are peers!

    And Brian, I lived in Roslyn at that time, my God, what a hellacious day. Awful.

    Michael: I have many sports memories like that. Villanova in 85, the Phillies in 80. Amazing stuff.

  6. We were in Duffy’s office because he had a television. At least, that’s what I remember. I just left the office shortly thereafter and drove home. No one was even on the road yet. They were still sitting in shock somewhere.

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