I remember being in 4th grade, in Mr Darnley’s class and our assignment being to go home and ask our parents what historic event they remember and where they were when it happened (my mom’s was JFK’s assassination).

I’ve thought about this periodically since then (like in high school or college) and have often thought someday (if some teacher felt so nostalgic as to ask my future-kids the same question) I’d tell the story of when the space shuttle Challenger exploded while I was sitting in my second grade classroom watching the historic liftoff with a teacher on board.

Today, Hope came home from school and her assignment was for me to tell her the story of where I was on Sept. 11, 2001 and what it was like for me on the day the two matching towers got hit. So Jason and I relived our memory. We were both at work, he at OSU and I was at a day-care. We were engaged with our wedding just a weeks away and I called him to ask if he saw the news. He had. We talked about how we were shocked, and then we hung up.  I remember someone I worked with asking me if that building was in NY or Chicago.

And then my cell phone rang and it was Jason, telling me that his mom had called to tell him that his brother and sister in law were there. Just blocks away, visiting the city to decide if they should move there. Suddenly this was very personal, a very real fear overcame us and we left work (and skipped my afternoon/evening job at UC), went to my apartment and watched TV and waited for the phone to ring. Not hearing from them and not knowing whether they were ok because we couldn’t call them, I think we watched tv all day and night not because we wanted to hear the latest but in some vain hope that we would see them walking around.

Today after telling the story, we watched the video of tower 2 being hit, and the towers collapsing. There is a fascinating video someone took from a high-rise apartment in NYC of the tower collapsing and the dust and debris spreading around below them in a cloud and people running on the street. So we talked about how Uncle Josh and Aunt Allison were some of those people just trying to get out of the city. All that to say 1. (on a minor,shallow, selfish note) I feel old because now I’m the one being asked where I was on a historic day so my kid can write a report… and (much more importantly) 2. we are thinking of all those who suffered that day, the ones who made it, and the ones who didn’t, and we are passing that memory on so that our part of the next generation will know the sacrifices made by those who were brave and bold and sacrificial that day.

So tell us, where were you when we lived history that day? And did you know anyone who was there? (post it in a comment here, not on FB please)

Living History