I Remember

I remember the exact moment I heard that President Kennedy bad been shot. The teacher was crying at his desk when I walked into the classroom and I had never seen a man cry. The room, my standing in quiet awkwardness, the smell of a dusty chalkboard and my wet shoes remain like a photograph etched in my mind

I remember on that day in January 1986 when I received a quick call at work with word that the Space Shuttle Challenger had exploded after take off. In the office across from me sat my favorite co-worker, a World War II Veteran, B-17 Bomber Pilot. He listened to my news, but I recognized his tacit disbelief as he turned to find his radio. The audible squeak in his chair matched the physical shiver of apprehension in my spine as we sought confirmation. Neither of us spoke as we listened to the news bulletin. The smiling face of the first teacher in space, Christa McAuliffe, haunted the tears that flowed freely from my heart that day.

I remember where I was on 9-11-01 when I first saw the horrific scenes from The World Trade Center being televised. I had arrived around midnight on my flight from Washington DC into Portland, Oregon. Four hours late because I was bumped from my first flight. To top off the bad day, my luggage was traveling on its own for the second time this trip. The two weeks I had spent in Delaware with my daughter Jen and family were good, but I missed the hubby and was so happy to see him at the airport. He listened to me complain about my traveling woes as we drove to our eldest daughter's (Kar) house to finish out the night/morning before driving on home. We slept in and then loved on our five-month old grandson over breakfast. A phone call interrupted our visit; it was Jen in such hysterics that at first Kar could not understand her.

"The Towers have Fallen."

The rest of the day our eyes were riveted to the television news with revulsion and horror. We hugged. We cried.

So many images of unimaginable grief and terror. But I find myself thinking about our silent trip home. It was the sky, a blank blue slate, that drew me to its emptiness.

Comments

SongBird said…
Beautifully written, Pamela. I only remember my mom crying when Kennedy was shot. I was 5 years old. I was getting ready for work when the Challenger exploded. I had paused in putting on my makeup to watch the lift off. I stood stunned in my livingroom in front of CNN unable to comprehend what had happened. I was teaching a sixth grade music class on September 11, 2001. Another teacher knocked on my classroom door and asked that I step outside. She told me that a plane had crashed into one of the towers. Our principal asked us not to share the news with our classes. After my elementary class, I moved to the high school for classes throughout the rest of the day. The older students were told what was happening. We watched the coverage on CNN for the remainder of the school day. I had several former students drop by the choir room at different times that day. It was as though they needed to touch base with something familiar from their past.
Karmyn R said…
too young for Kennedy - but home sick with Challenger.

I will be posting my 9/11 one on Saturday - tomorrow will be a tribute to the Benjammin going to Kindergarten!!!

(My wv is the weirdest yet -
qubqug)
Pass The Torch said…
This is a beautiful post, Pamela. I wrote an I Remember post as well.

Kelly
Home of Pass the Torch Tuesday
Biker Betty said…
There's a day that most of us old enough to remember will never forget. I have a person to pay tribute to and will be posting him in a few days.
Jodi said…
Thanks for stopping by my blog. I sure did enjoy reading your recollections of these three memorable events. And I hope you're able to get the memories of Pearl Harbor from your husband's aunt. My grandparents were 11 and 12 years old at the time, so I should ask them if they have any memories.
I enjoyed your recollections Pam, thank you for writing them down. I especially loved this line, "It was the sky, a blank blue slate, that drew me to its emptiness." That describes that feeling so well.
michele said…
The clearness of the sky is something I will never forget. How can it beautiful when so much evil exists.
rose said…
I loved your write up on that I'm learning that writing from the heart beats all the facade stuff Aw! I think I said that right. This is the way I want to learn to write. It touches your soul. About the towers how could they or we let that happen "Are we stupid or something. Seems like there should have been plenty of warnings. Those other tradgedies Seems to me were more beyond our control that the big one. Rose.
M J said…
I don't think I can do an I remember post without having a complete breakdown.

That was very touching, emotional, very very real. Thank you for sharing that.
Becca said…
Thank you for stopping by. It's amazing how our shared memory of that horrible day can link us all together.
healing hoves said…
saw you on my life shifting and wanted to stop and visit your readings, good post ejoyed what you had to say........sonja brooks http:/healing-hooves.blogspot.com
eurogirl75 said…
Thanks for visiting my blog! Your memories of such important days were thoughtful and so well written.

Amy
Swampwitch said…
How eloquently you expessed your feelings about three very vivid memories with your analogies and metaphors ! Thanks for sharing. We must never forget.
Waya said…
Beautifully written for such an awful event which will etched in our minds forever.
laura said…
love your memories! I still am fascinated to hear my mom's recollection of that day in 1963. the challenger is forever etched in memory too. thank you so much for stopping by my blog and commenting on my memory.
btw i love your blog title!
Laura said…
Thanks for stopping by my blog! And thanks for letting me in on your memories, as well... I wasn't around for the Kennedy assasination, but I remember the Challenger so vividly. We had just come in from recess and our teacher was standing in front of the classroom, crying, and she told us what had happened. I know I didn't grasp it completely then, I was in 2nd grade, maybe 3rd, but I do remember my body going cold, seeing an adult so distraught.

Blessings!
Anonymous said…
About 2 thousand years ago, a Man hung on a cross. Because He did that, some day there will never have to be remembrances of loss like President Kennedy, Challenger, the Towers,Pearl Harbor, etc. Only remembrances of love.
Anna Venger said…
Certain days are etched on our psyche forever. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
Susanne said…
Beautifully written, Pamela. And thank you for telling me the name of Gander, Newfoundland. I just couldn't remember and I couldn't find it either in trying to research it. Amazing the memories are all so different and yet all so the same.
slackermommy said…
"It was the sky, a blank blue slate, that drew me to its emptiness." I so relate with this quote. The clear blue sky of that day is so vivid in my mind. I even started my post about 9-11 with my description of the sky but your description sums up the feeling well. Thank you for stopping by.
Ruth said…
nice to meet you!

i was in grade 8 when the challenger tragedy hit our world. i remember excitement. our teacher was going to let us watch the shuttle launch LIVE. and then shock and horror as the challenger was devestated before our eyes.
pastormac said…
thanks for visiting my blog.

I was too young to remember Kennedy. (did you know C.S. Lewis and Aldous Huxley both died on the same day Kennedy was shot?) I was in my senior year of high school, in class when the challenger exploded. Someone brought in a tv from the media room and we watched the tape over and over. It was very sad.

Having read your blog I appreicate your appreciation all the more.
lrlwreath said…
thank you for sharing your memeories. I too remember Challenger...I was home sick from school.

Great blog.
Magi said…
Thank you for stopping by my site, and thank you for sharing your memories. They are beautifully written.
Julie said…
Beautifully written! The first memory that we share is the Challenger. I was in the 9th grade and we were watching. I was working when the Federal bldg was bombed in OKC, and also when the towers fell. But one memory that you don't have listed here that will be another one etched in my mind forever is the day that Elvis died.

Thanks for sharing. It is amazing to see how many people appreciate these memories like we do ourselves.
Michelle said…
Thanks for sharing your memories and visiting my blog as well. I think one on hand it is painful to remember, but on the other hand we have to remember and relive and talk about it so we will never forget.
theresa said…
Thanks for sharing your stories. It's amazing how we all reacted to these tragic events. I'm glad you already flew home before this all started.
Robin said…
I always get behind in reading over the weekends...today is a heckofa day to catch up.

I did not write a tribute; but this morning I recorded a few thoughts similar to this post. I started to include a timeline for significant "events" that have occurred during my life, but decided this wasn't the day to do that. But another day....

Off to read some more on TDWW
Kathleen Marie said…
Very nice. I remember when Kennedy and his brother Bobby were shot, the Space Challenger, 9-11. They are branded in my mind forever. Thank you so much for sharing.
Barb said…
You know, sometimes I can't remember what happened last week but I can remember every single detail of what was happening when Kennedy was assassinated, the Challenger exploded and of course the events of 9/11. Thank you for stopping by my place.
Lynn said…
I was only a few months old when Kennedy was shot, but I remember the newsreels played for years on the anniversary.

I do remember 9/11 very well.
I tell my story today too.
Bonnie B said…
I was hiding under a desk in my dad's office when the Space Shuttle went down. I had a doctor's appointment that day, but after that-- a little ear infection just didn't seem to matter.

On 9-11, my mother woke me up with her phone call, saying we were under attack. I just stared for hours that day while my oldest daughter climbed on me and asked why i was crying.

Thanks for sharing your stories-- nicely done and beautifully written.
Anonymous said…
shivers mahoney! ivy

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