We all have them, memories of the big moments in our shared lives.
I remember the moment I learned of JFK’s death. I was in Alaska at Ft. Greely in the midst of a course at the Northern Warfare School.
I remember 9/11. I had been out to Clark Brother’s shooting range the day before and was cleaning pistols I had taken to the range. I was kneeling on the floor in the family room rummaging through some cleaning kit when the TeeVee interrupted itself to say that there had been an accident in NY City in which an airplane had hit a big building. Being old even then I thought of the accident just after WW2 in which a military plane hit the Empire State Building.
So, I sat back on my heels to listen and very quickly there was an image of one of the two trade center towers with a big hole in it up near the top with masses of smoke billowing out of the hole.
After a few minutes I watched a jet liner come into view as it turned and rammed the second tower. Debris spewed out the hole it made on the near side of the building from the force of the strike on the other side.
I knew then that we were at war. This could not be an accident.
I watched the buildings burn for a while and then my house shook with a mighty ka-whump. We are several miles from the Pentagon but the shock wave of the airliner crash into the Defense Department headquarters was still massive at that range.
We did not learn of the crash in Pennsylvania until later in the day.
I received several calls from people in the ME wanting to know what had happened. One of them immediately guessed that it was was some sort of jihadi attack. “Now we are really in the shit,” he said on the phone. “If that is true, you surely are, all of you,” I replied.
A day or so later, an American billionaire whom I knew called to say that his grandson had been working in one of the towers above the level of the strike, and though badly injured had miraculously made his way down the stairs from above the strike all the way to the ground and had lived. “Now we are all in your world” the billionaire said to me, “in your world.” pl