Where were you when…
When I was little, I always used to hear my grandparents and parents discuss where they were when they heard Kennedy had been shot, or where they were when Pearl Harbor happened. I have also always heard that Generation Xers and Generation Yers were really spoiled because we never really had anything to fight for or suffer through. I might not have been around during the civil rights movement or prohibition or the Cuban missile crisis, but I can tell you that every generation eventually has its cross to bear, and I thought it would be interesting to go back and find out where I was when significant things in my life happened. OK, so a lot of people will say who gives a flying fuck and will probably just skip this entry, but I guarantee that if you start thinking about where you were when certain events happened, you will find it fascinating.
The most obvious “where were you when” story is on September 11, 2001. The terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon showed that the great and powerful United States could be vulnerable and suffer massive destruction and the world we knew could change forever. Over 3,000 people lost their lives and thousands more were directly affected by the fallout. Businesses were destroyed and the economy dropped like a new Britney Spears album. Ironically, I was on a plane to Sacramento to film a movie when the attack occurred, and we were unexpectedly rerouted to Canada. At the time, it seemed funny to me that they wouldn’t allow planes to land in the United States for fear of more attacks, yet we felt more than comfortable to ship them off to Canada. Canada is kinda like our attic, you sometimes forget it’s there, but when you do go up you can find some cool stuff. Anyway, when I returned to America, everything in my life would eventually go on, but the sting and the memory would never fade.
On April 20, 1999, I lived in a quiet little suburb of Denver, Colorado, called Littleton. To be more specific, I lived in a subdivision of Littleton that will forever be linked to a tragedy known as Columbine. Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, two high school students, walked into their school and killed 13 people and wounded 24 others. Now, that day I was pissed off because traffic was so backed up around my house that I couldn’t get to class. I didn’t know what had gone on at the high school down the street. I remember sitting for hours watching the news and seeing those kids run out of the building and in a twisted way it kinda opened their eyes to what happens in cities all over America. I had gone to high school in Atlanta, so we had security guards and metal detector on the premises, but these kids in middle America lost a little bit of their innocence that day because they realized that they were not immune to violence.
When I was about 10, my mom was glued to the television one November day watching people tear down a wall. At the time I wanted to go to McDonalds, but I remember she just sat in front of the television with tears running down her face. I didn’t see my mom cry too often, so I knew something serious was happening. I sat silently next to her and watched these people screaming and dancing and crying with joy as the 45-year-old Berlin Wall that divided the city came crumbling to the ground. I of course didn’t understand at the time what it meant, but I know now that the symbol of oppression and restriction was being removed and people who had been held in fear for generations were once again going to be able to feel free.
On August 31, 1997, I was doing laundry and couldn’t wait to go to bed when I heard my best friend scream, “Holy shit” from upstairs in our townhouse. I rushed up the stairs and he was totally white and kinda nervously laughing. “Princess Diana is dead, dude,” he said as tears began to well up in his eyes. I looked at the television and saw the crushed car of an icon I had admired growing up and knew that it was a moment that would greatly affect the world. As the next few days went by and the funeral was aired on television, the sadness of her death gave way to a heartwarming feeling of hope and love as people from all over the world, of all ages and colors, joined together to mourn. Her life had meant so much that her death united countries and governments and religions, if only for a few days.
All these things happened in my world, in my time, and I was there to experience them, and I’m glad that I have seen the world change for both good and bad. Everyone has their own stories, but there are times when people from worlds apart don’t seem so far away.
So tell me where were you when… and I promise next week I will write something that doesn’t require thinking. BLOG HARD!
It’s always a business doing pleasure with you.
– Dylan Vox