Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Where were you when...

Shortly after lunch on Friday, November 22, 1963, I was a seventh grader sitting in study hall when Miss Annapole, Principal of JHS 51, New York City, came on the intercom and announced in an angry, accusatory tone that President Kennedy had been shot, killed, and we would be having auditorium in 15 minutes. After a further harangue about the murder in the auditorium from Miss Annapole (I remember she was shrieking into the mike so much it went on permanent shrill buzz) we were discharged out the doors and sent home, shocked and bewildered.

On Tuesday morning, January 28, 1986, I had awakened from a fitful four hour slumber after returning home from a graveyard shift as a Colorado State Patrolman and I was wondering through the Target store shopping aimlessly in Boulder when my attention was drawn to the active TV sets in the electronics department. They all showed continuous re-runs of the 73-second ill-fated Challenger space shuttle flight which culminated in its fiery destruction in sub orbit with its devestating loss of everyone aboard (I'll always remember the Houston Control announcer saying dryly as the pieces of rocket scattered to smithereens in a huge trail of smoke, "Obviously a major malfunction.").

On Tuesday morning, September 11, 2001, I was on a Metro platform going to work when the PA system came on and the announcer informed us that the Pentagon station was closed due to the "terrorist attack" there. My imagination conjured up an image of some zealots boiling out of the station there and assaulting the Pentagon building with some AK-47s. When I arrived at work in downtown DC a few minutes later pandemonium was reigning in the hallways of my workplace as people were running around looking for "shelter" within the building and reports were coming in that more planes were on their way to bomb us and car bombs were going off in the street. Welcome to the world that Osama bin Laden introduced us unsuspecting Americans to on that day.

Late on Sunday evening, May 2, 2011, I was checking my email account on the netbook which was open on my chest as I lay in bed. Automatic news alerts in the account informed me that Osama bin Laden had been "killed" and that President Obama was addressing the nation in a few minutes. I went downstairs to watch his speech wherein he announced the death of this mass-murderer, the result of a completely successful American special operations raid in Pakistan, ordered by the president. When President Obama stated that following a firefight, Osama bin Laden had been shot in the head and killed, I knew right away that this was a euphemism for the fact that the bloodstained polygamous zealot had been summarily executed.

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