In the five decades I have lived and experienced, there is a common question among all generations…. Where were you when….? Pearl Harbor, Hiroshima? I am a baby boomer but I was not alive during the Great Depression or the Great Wars. My first deep childhood memory was the assassination my President, John F. Kennedy.
Looking back from my kindergarten eyes, I didn’t totally understand what had happened when sent home early from our school day. A couple days later, I watched my mother staring at our black and white t.v. in her ironing room as I quietly leaned against the doorway. The sobriety of his casket being pulled by a team of horses was eerily quiet. I’ll always remember where I was on November 23, 1963 and November 25, 1963. However, as I climb the ladder of seniority, there have been many new questions of “Where were you…?”
Where were you when Martin Luther King, Bobby Kennedy, John Lennon or, more recently, Michael Jackson, died? Where were you when you heard/saw the devastation of the tsunami, or Hurricane Katrina?
However, with another anniversary of September 11, 2001 approaching, I’m sure almost all generations can answer, “Where were you on 9-11, when planes were hijacked and used as weapons of terrorism?”
I have friends, as many of us do, that were in New York during the tragedy and have told their sobering experiences. I was in Charleston watching it when I arrived to my office observing the attorneys surrounding a little black and white television. The violation of taking innocent lives to promote terrorist agendas, and on the soil of a democratic country that has always been a melting pot of various ethnicity, slowly boiled as the situation deepened.
My soul was deeply disturbed as people forced themselves to jump from buildings, collapsing towers took not only the employees but firefighters. Eventually, we learn of the sacrifice of the passengers trying to prevent the last aircraft from making another devastating stain on September 11…
I cannot imagine what this day represents to the actual victims and survivors of the event directly. All I can tell you is this: No one who perished was labeled as an ethnic American… they were Americans.
Unfortunately, I feel our nation is being torn apart internally by younger weapon-wielding terrorists. Trendy hashtags seem to be as much damage to the #blacklives matter, #whitelivesmatter or #copslivesmatter divisions. I live in Charleston where nine AME church members were recently killed and am proud of how our city stayed glued together.
I’m sure we all have a “where were you when…?” moment in our lives. My hope is that we find the sensibility to honor our Declaration of Independence’s essence: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, regardless of what that happiness entails, assuming it does not abridge the unalienable rights of others.