by Carol Burnside
For years I didn’t ‘get’ how so many people of my parents’ generation remembered exactly where they were when they heard the news of JFK’s death. I was but a small child, and vaguely remembered my dad and mom huddled around a radio with ashen faces and watery eyes, shushing anyone who dared speak. But I didn’t feel the significance of that moment in the same way that it was for them.
Then came 9-11-01. That morning, I sat in front of my television and felt the same kind of shock and horror that another generation felt, of having been attacked in a way that would forever change the feeling of invincibility I’d had for my country.
Senseless death. Devastating destruction. My generation had its can’t-forget moment.
There are other, more personal moments that crystallize in my memory. Tears and prayers late one night, my father rushed away by a wailing ambulance, dead from a massive heart attack. Another night, the sky filled with an unnatural light as we evacuated our home due to an exploding tank at a nearby natural gas refinery.
Thankfully, some of those defining moments are happy ones. Standing before a JP without witness one and feeling the rightness of marrying the man I continue to love decades later. Holding my newborn child for the first time. Surprising my mother on her 80th birthday with a big party, all my siblings and her friends present.
Good or bad, what moments have crystallized in your memory?