What do you think has been the most significant event that has taken place during your life?
How I wish I could say there was just one significant event. There have however been many. While I don’t remember either of these tragic events, they happened during my lifetime: the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. My parents have recounted what they were doing and when for each. Just like for my own list, I could tell you exactly what I was doing when and where when each event happened.
Since each of the following eight events could in and of themselves be full journal entries, I’ll only list them and provide a sentence or two on the why. The memorable and significant events in my own memory include:
Death of Pope John Paul I in 1978: I was 16 and in Alaska when we heard the news. I remember being glued to the television in a hotel and crying.
Explosion of Space Shuttle Challenger, Jan. 28, 1986: So excited about this. So devastated. I have a photo of the crew that I later got at Kennedy Space Center.
Sale of my first book in 1993 and Its publication in 1994: This still makes me smile … all these years later.
My brother’s death on Feb. 3, 1996: I miss him every day and go to his grave whenever I’m home in Pennsylvania.
Death of Princess Diana in 1997: Spent the entire night with CNN; felt as if a sister had died. I wrote a column for the newspaper about why women were so devastated about her death. The column’s basic premise: We’re fed the Prince Charming fairy tale from childhood and this one didn’t end right.
Sept. 11, 2001: Horror of all horrors.
Election of Barack Obama/Inauguration of President Obama: The election for the historical significance of the first African-American president; the inauguration on Jan. 28, 2009, because of my neighbor Dave’s suicide-by-cop incident. (Way too long to get into here: short version, neighbor on street went crazy; SWAT, bomb squad, evacuation; eventually shot by police when he came out with what they thought was a bomb attached to his chest. On any other day, this would have dominated the front page of the paper and TV broadcasts, but it was Inauguration Day.) So for me, the president’s inauguration will always be tied with that incident..