Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Meme: Where was I when...?

Meme shamelessly yoinked from Bill's Comment Page

Attack on the twin towers - 11 September 2001
I used to suffer from teletext addiction. I couldn't go more than 5 minutes without quickly flicking on teletext to check the news. This is how I first became aware of what was going on. I was, proudly, watching Dolly Parton in 9 to 5 on one of the movie channels at home when I happened to flick on teletext and up came a one line, brand new news story "Plane hits World Trade Center tower". I quickly switched over to BBC News where the presenters were reporting this story as just another tragic novelty. Horrible but not irregular. That was when right there in front of us all the second plane came zooming in from the right hand side of the screen and smashed into the second tower. The presenters were speechless and that was when I knew that this was not just another news story...

As the afternoon moved on I was joined by a Matthew and an Elliot and we watched as the BBC News cameras showed smoking rising over Washington D.C. nervously laughing. We couldn't think of any other response. This was just too crazy. My Mum called, in tears, terrified about what the immediate consequences of this might be... she was worried that this was the opening salvo in some sort of Third World War, funny now but in those few hours anything seemed possible.

It was a crazy day... one I won't soon forget. Surfing through television channels to find most had gone off air replaced with either news, or a screen stating the stations sympathies for the victims. It was like that until well into the 12th. I remember later that evening on the 11th the BBC ran a TV special offering a blow by blow account of the days events and I remember watching that with my family, feeling that the world had changed forever.

Princess Diana's death - 31st August 1997
We were heading down to Cornwall for a weeks holiday so I was up out of bed sometime very early in the morning... 4 or 5 a.m, I think. That was when the news started reporting that Princess Diana was dead. I was sad to hear that, let my parents know and we all expressed sadness before getting in the car and heading off.

Little did I realise then the mass hysteria that was about to spread across our country. Even though I was only 14 I could tell just by listening to the radio on the way down that this was being treated quite differently to a normal tragic story. And watching the television and reading the papers the next day I became sickened by the level of grief expressed. Check out my previous post on my feelings on this at my other blog (which, since I rebooted this blog, has been reactivated).

Margaret Thatcher's Resignation - 22nd November 1990
I do not remember this at all. Not one bit. I was old enough to remember the Poll Tax riots and all the associated graffiti around saying "No Poll Tax" (I still get all nostalgic when I visited some run down town or city and see they still have some of this graffiti up...). But I don't remember the subsequent months nor her actual resignation.

England's World Cup Semi Final against Germany - 4 July 1990
Was this the one where that footballer cried? If so I have vague memories of hearing about it. But otherwise my enthusiasm for football was as low then as it is now.

President Kennedy's Assassination - 22 November 1963
This was three years before my Mum was born. 'Nuff said.


  1. 11 September will always be a hard day for me now. I work for American Airlines and I got a call from a co-worker to turn on the news. That was when I saw the second plane hit the tower.

    I had to work that day, and it was the most surreal day of my life. There was nothing for us to do because all the planes were grounded. No passengers calling it because they were all glued to the telly like the rest of us.

  2. '9 to 5' is one of my favourite films - I often put my tape of it in the video if I want some innocent fun and I've nothing better to do. I enjoyed your recollections.

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