I am teaching a digital media class at a local university, and I like to start the semester by asking the students what was the first big news event they remember as a kid? (We go on to discuss how that event would be covered differently now in the digital age than when they were little.)
For many of this generation in college now, 9-11 is their defining news event.
One student told how school was canceled for the day. Another said that the teacher listened to the radio describing the attacks the entire day. They remember watching the footage on the TV of the buildings being hit over and over again. And they remember going to war after 9-11.
They also remember the Columbine massacre in 1999 and the Clinton/Monica Lewinsky scandal, which broke around 1998. One student remembered Polly Klaas being taken (1993) because she grew up in the same area. (I remember a lot about the Atlanta child murders for that same reason.)
The Challenger explosion is a very clear memory for me. I also remember a lot about Ronald Regan being in office. I remember his shooting and watching a lot of his speeches and his meetings with the Soviets in Iceland.
Rose was just a baby during 9-11. I had left her with Michael that morning to go to the doctor for a bad cold. We heard the story on the radio at the doctor’s office, and I assumed it was a small prop plane that hit the first tower but saw differently as soon as I got home. Michael raced downtown to the office to get to work.
I asked my kids what news events they remember now. Rose didn’t really have one that stood out to her but Walsh said that little boy that killed himself because he was being bullied. (Walsh was almost 6 when that happened.—April 2009.) It’s amazing what sticks with someone.
What news events do your kids remember? What news events stick with you? Do your kids have recollections of 9-11?