My Generation’s Kennedy Moment

My Mom can tell you where she was when President Kennedy was killed. That was always hard for me to fathom. How a complete generation of people had one moment in history that would always link them together.I never really understood that.

Until 9/11.

I was at work in East Hartford (at a job I no longer have). We were in an all-staff meeting. It was a short meeting — I think we started at 8:30. When we came out at 9, someone mentioned something about a plane and a building in New York.

I quickly got online — or tried to anyway. The internet was crawling as millions of people were trying to find out what had happened. And then when CNN’s web page came up, we knew. We hooked up the only TV we had in the office in the conference room, and about 20 of us stood around and watched silently as the towers fell. It was surreal.

Just unimagineable. I thought back to a trip to New York when I went to the observation deck of one of the towers. I thought about how the 19 story building I was in at the time absolutely paled in comparison. I thought about my friend Nancy who I knew worked for Morgan Stanley — but was fortunately more mid-town. I found out that my friend Liz’s husband Tim who worked in one of the adjoining buildings didn’t go to work that day.

And then I thought about my trip.

On September 12, my college roommate and I were due to fly to Kansas City and then on to St. Louis in our ongoing quest to see a baseball game in every major league park.

Our flight wasn’t until later in the day on the 12th, so I was sure we’d be in the air and on our way. A couple hours later, I was thinking, well, it’s ok if they delay us one day. We’ll still get out there.

Flights would be grounded for days. What we were watching would change the course of the world.

It has since been documented in television specials, coffee table books and government commission reports.And all I was concerned about at the time was baseball — America’s pasttime.

I was so naive.

2 Comments on “My Generation’s Kennedy Moment”

  1. College Roommate says:

    …actually, I think our flights were for early morning 9/12 — the same time as many of the 9/11 flights left the east coast. To think we were thinking about baseball is just mind-numbing. I called Tim from court that morning ’cause I knew he worked in the area. He later told me a story about a colleague who went up in tower two after tower one was hit because he wanted to get a better view of the first crash. What a different world that was. The only other time I could tell you where I was (down to a centimeter on google earth) was the Challenger in ’86. If the East Catholic cafeteria is still situated as it was 20 years ago, it’s be first table on the left, second seat in.

  2. […] not as eloquent or as poignant as any of those that are directly affected by it. Last year, I wrote this — defining 9/11 as my generation’s Kennedy moment. Maybe it’s bigger than that? I […]

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