Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Events

I just finished reading this book, Firefly Lane, and it takes place throughout the 70s and 80s and 90s.  The book follows the lives of 2 best friends, one who is a news caster, so there is much talk about the news events of the time period. In the 90s there were descriptions of the Gulf War and it brought memories back of when that actually happened. I know exactly when the bombs started falling, or at least when they started being covered on the news. I will never forget that night. My parents went out that night and we were at home with Mrs Robertson, our baby sitter. My sister was born in 90 so she was a baby. I can't remember if she was asleep or not but I know my brother and I were awake and Mrs Robertson had on the news. All of a sudden this man started screaming "they are bombing us". I remember the screen being green and fuzzy (night vision) but I could see bright fireworks falling from the sky. I was terrified. I thought they were bombing "US", right then. Later my dad bought me a map of the Middle East so I could see it was far away from us but I didn't know that then. I took my brother upstairs and we hid under my bed. I figured that was the best way to escape bombs. I don't remember how long we were there but I know it was a long time because I remember Mrs Robertson trying to get us out and assuring is that we were safe and that mommy and daddy were safe.  I'm tearing up as I write this because I remember how scared I was. Reading about it in the book brought that fear right back up to the surface and it made me think of all the other milestone moments I watched on tv and that filled me with fear. The Berlin Wall coming down freaked me out pretty badly. I'm sure  my mom was just watching a news program of it on some random night around the time it happened but all those people climbing and breaking it down freaked me out beyond belief. Plus, I was worried about the bad people on the other side. I mean how do you explain Hitler and all that nonsense to a 6 year old? Not well apparently. You know that movie that just came out w Brad Pitt, World War Z (I think I have that right)? Well there was a wall claiming scene in it that was in the previews and it reminded me so much of what I saw with the Berlin wall that I refused to go see it.
I can remember other scary tv events, like the Oklahoma City bombing and Atlanta Olympics bombing but nothing to the level of Gulf War fear as Columbine. My gosh, the coverage of that day is forever emblazoned in my mind. I was in 8th grade, starting a new public school that fall. It never crossed my mind that people did things like that, and I had grown up with a criminal defense lawyer as my father. That kind of unfeeling, uncaring towards other humans was inconceivable. I remember sitting on the arm of the sofa in my school uniform, just staring. Then, there was 9/11. I mean no one will ever forget that. I was 17, in calculus, about to start a review session for our test the next day  a teacher came to the door and got my teacher to come into the hallway and told her what had happened.  It was right after 8am central, so 9 in NYC. My teacher turned on the tv and we watched in horror. We were watching live when the towers, and the world as we knew it, crumbled to the ground. 
Thinking about these events really made me think about the future. What other disasters will I be privy too as an onlooker through and hdtv screen? What tragedies will I have to explain in simple terms to my children? One can only imagine I pray that we have leaders today who will have enough strength, knowledge and grace to keep us safe and do what's right for the world, not just our own country. Most if all, we need people to learn and understand each other's customs, religion, culture, and accept them for who they are and cherish them for their uniqueness. We need people who put the whole before the self and who value human dignity before their own wants and desires. We need to be able to turn on the news and not scar our children by what they see. Clearly, we just need.
Sorry to get so deep on you this merry Tuesday. Do you remember these events the way I do? Do you worry about the future too? 

3 comments:

  1. I am guessing I am about two years older than you...give or take b/c I was a freshman in college when 9/11 happened...I remember ever detail...down to where I was and what I was wearing. I remember reading once that when your emotions are high ie...scared, happy, fearful...you memories are richer...they are better...I have found this to be so true!!

    p.s. Firefly lane is such a sad, but good book. I hear there is a squeal to that book.?

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  2. I guess I remember Oklahoma City so much because we were in Texas at the time and it seemed so close. But, 9/11 was awful for me as 14 year old. Not, by any means, like those that actually lost family members, but my emotions were high. My mom was supposed to be on a plane heading back from JFK that morning. I remember 8 hours later when she could finally get a call through and being so relieved. And even more relieved when she finally got home 4 days later.

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  3. I was teaching school that day, when a teacher came to the door to tell me that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Centers. I think I was the only teacher who did NOT turn on the television, but continued calmly with my math and science lessons (I had the kids for a two hour block).

    When the bell finally rang to change classes, we discovered what had gone on. I didn't turn on the television the rest of the day either. I've always felt like my students and I were spared the horror of watching the buildings fall and the continuous news coverage.

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