Wednesday, February 11, 2009

What were you doing when ...?

TOH to Rev. dr. Mom for this one. It's about the limit of my mental capacity at this point today.

1. Challenger space shuttle exploded (1986):

In a taxicab with a sales rep for a professional magazine who was trying to sell me ad space. I was massively pregnant with StoneMason at the time. I was amazed that she took me out to lunch (a very expensive one at La Colline) and continued to try and close the deal.

2. Berlin Wall falls down (1989):

Changing sheets in my son's bedroom, with the tears running down my face.

3. Oklahoma City federal building bombing (1995):

Working on Capital Hill. Strange times. That is all I can say about it.

4. OJ Verdict (1995):

Working on Capital Hill. Watched the verdict with the rest of the staff of my committee. Somehow we knew that there was so much more to this than the particular decision being made.

5. Princess Diana dies (1997):

A beautiful sunny day, and the incongruity of the news on the television. Great sadness and anger at what our media-driven culture had become. Those poor boys, and that utterly clueless family.

6. Columbine massacre (1999):

Working downtown in Gucci Gulch. Fear for my own children, that there would be copycat events.

7. JFK Jr. Plane crash (1999):

I couldn't believe the feeding frenzy of the media. Again. I was so tired of hearing the phrase "Greek tragedy."

8. Bush/Gore crazy election (2000):

Part of the great morass of lobbyists trying to avoid writing yet another check, and watching horrified at the way the Constitution was being squashed and twisted.

9. September 11, (2001):

I worked two blocks from the White House. I came out of the gym I belonged to and saw the news report on the tv. Walked a block to my office, where we were glued to the tv for further news. We saw black smoke in the distance, and couldn't tell if it was from the White House, or the Old Executive Office Building, or something further down. the phone lines were jammed. Our building was evacuated at 9:15, and I got back across to Virginia just before they closed the bridges. I could see the Pentagon burning, and people walking from the city. I couldn't get a hold of the school or my bosses in another city or other family. We watched the towers fall on tv and wondered what would happen next. Sounds of fighter jets overhead. Church at three in the afternoon. I wondered how many of my colleagues in New York at the WTC had died - six, it turned out. I lost no close friends at the Pentagon, although a sister church lost eight. I preached on it this past 9/11. I was amazed at how, even seven years later, the emotions were so close to the surface.

10. Space ship Columbia disintegrates (2003):

The tv was on as I cleaned house. Disbelief. Wonderment that we seemed to do so little to protect these astronauts.

11. Hurricane Katrina hits (2005):

I watched, I cried, I watched more, I cried more. I was part of a corporate diversity council, and seeing the event through the eyes of my African-American colleagues was wrenching. I could see our racism so very, very clearly.

12. A couple of bonuses for us old folks:

John Kennedy's assassination November 22, 1963

I was in seventh grade in a Roman Catholic school run by Irish-American nuns, for whom JFK was pretty close to the second coming. It was announced over the intercom, even as we were watching a PBS French class on the television. I hadn't a clue what it all meant. I just knew it was bad.

MLK's assassination April 1968

Fear and great sadness. I worked in Newark NJ as a church organist. That following Sunday was not a good day.

RFK's assassination June 1968

Very little memory of this except a sense that the world made no sense, and that all that was hopeful was gone.

And now we seem to have some hope again, but our expectations are so very, very high, and we fly like Icarus too close to the sun. I pray hope won't melt, that we temper our expectations, that we have patience, that we wait on the Lord.

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