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Old 05-09-2021, 03:37 PM
dirkronk dirkronk is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: 3 miles due north of the Alamo
Posts: 2,834

The earlier references of boomers having the Kennedy assassination as a dark "defining moment" rang true for me. I've shared my own "where were you?" story on other forums in the past. I decided to hunt down this one, posted May 29, 2002, just a few months after another defining moment for another generation: 9/11.

From Audio Asylum archives. In Reply to: Where were you when? posted by Chef Henry on May 27, 2002 at 09:35:51:

I was in the 8th grade in Waco, Texas, 13 years old. I first heard the news via hall rumor in between English and Drama classes. During Drama, the principal came over the intercom and gave us what few facts he had--then declared school closed for the day. Basically, I felt sick. Normally, my Mom or a friend's mom picked us up from school, since it was rather a long walk home. But it was way too early to wait--and that day, it seemed like the longest walk of my life. It wasn't cold. In fact, I remember breaking a sweat while walking. I remember scuffing the limestone dust on the gravel-topped side streets, watching it cover the toes of my shoes. I remember thoughts tumbling over and over each other. In addition to the sorrow and disbelief at the news, there was the added onus...this thing had happened in Texas. My state. Just 100 miles north of where I was walking.
There was an expectation, too, that this was just the beginning of some much more expanded event. After all, I'd grown up with fear of atomic attack; with profound mistrust of the godless communists; with build-ups in Southeast Asia reported in "My Weekly Reader"; with the Cuban missile crisis just a year before; with countless duck-and-cover drills, air raid sirens, Civil Defense locations, fallout shelters. Why wouldn't I see this as the start of World War III? The beginning of the end?

It was glum around my house that day and the rest of the weekend. There was no school, but there was no joy in the time off, either. How could there be? My Dad and Mom just sat in silence most of the time. Our black and white TV spewed out existing footage again and again, until the funeral. I remember the shots of the family, of John-John's salute, but the image that burned itself into my brain was the caisson and the riderless horse, the empty boots turned backward in their stirrups.

I felt caught, in a way. I was somewhere between child and adult...a No-Man's Land familiar to most denizens of junior high, admittedly. The week before, I couldn't wait to be considered grown up. That long weekend, though, I remember consciously trying to revert into a child's view of the world once more. I played with the younger kid from next door. Whiffle ball, wars with plastic army men, catch with the football. Anything to be outside, away from the adult world, away from the morose images, away from the drone of sadness and uncertainty. The retreat didn't work, of course. I wasn't truly grown up at that point. But I was never quite a kid again, either.

Given my reaction that day, I can scarcely dream of the level of impact 9/11 must have had on the children of this land. It makes me wish for gentler times for all of us.

Dirk, remembering all too clearly
I used to think I couldn't write songs. Then I regained my composure.

Last edited by dirkronk; 05-09-2021 at 04:04 PM.
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