Fifty Years Ago
Friday, November 22, 2013
I know that those of us who were aware of the world around us cannot forget where we were or what we were doing 50 years ago Nov. 22 (the day I am writing this).
I was an 18 year old freshman in college happily packing up our room with my new best friend and roommate as we were moving into a brand new dorm from our temporary housing in an old hotel at the edge of campus. All of us had our doors open, radios blaring with a variety of stations. All of a sudden it seemed as all of our radios were tuned to the same station and Pam, a senior down the hall, stepped into the hallway and said, "They've shot the president." Thus began a weekend of unreality for all of us. I remember hearing the bell from the chapel toll when the president's death was announced.
Much of the converstaion and news casting about this event has focused on the impact it had on my generation, a loss of innocence, a loss of confidence in our government as it seemed to be so quickly followed by the horrors of Vietnam, the stigma of Watergate and such a loss of belief in our government and its officials.
For me this process, which many say is related to seeing the distress of the adults around us, began about 2 1/2 years earlier. It was called the Cuban Missile Crisis. I was 16, a junior in high school and had just returned from a rehearsal for our school's variety show. I walked in just after the JFK had finished his TV address indicating the U. S. Nave would be blockading the Soviets from taking missiles to Cuba. It was the first time in my life I had ever seen my parents afraid.
I know the generation of young people who experienced 9/11 will have similar memories as our children do the of Challenger disaster.