Thursday, September 1, 2011

Unforgettable Times and Events

I wrote about my experiences and those of my family with the 5.8 earthquake just over a week ago on August 23. The  quake was centered near Mineral, Virginia, about 80 miles southwest of where we are in Manassas. The damage was more than it first seemed, with some schools having to be closed because of structural damage and Orange, Spotsylvania and Culpeper  school systems delaying the start of the school year by a week. National Cathedral was damaged as were a number of buildings in Mineral, and some in Richmond and Fredericksburg.

What I find interesting about the earthquake (among many things) is the human impulse to share where we were and how we experienced the event.  It's true of certain pivotal events that impress themselves in our memories forever, it seems, where we were, what we were doing, and how we felt. Events in recent memory include the end of World War II (I wasn't here for that one), the launching of Sputnik in October, 1957 (don't remember where I was or what I was doing), the assassination of John Kennedy in November, 1963 (in sixth period geometry class at W. T. Woodson High School.  I still remember the silence in the halls after we were dismissed to go home), the landing of men on the Moon in July, 1969 (watched it live on my parents' black and white television), Richard Nixon's resignation and departure in August 1974 (watched that in the bedroom of our townhouse.  We were married in December, 1973), the Kent State shootings in May, 1970 (I was a week or so away from graduating from college and heard about it between classes), the explosion of the Challenger space shuttle in January, 1986 (I was driving home in the middle of a school work day because I didn't feel well), the fall of the Berlin Wall (which happened in November, 1989, although I remember being at Busch Gardens with the family.  That doesn't compute), the September 11, 2001 attacks (in school with my second period class when we got the news over the p.a.), and the death of Osama Bin Laden (I was watching television late that Sunday night when the news came on).

I'll write more tomorrow about the Virginia earthquake stories I've heard.  Stay tuned!

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