There are questions throughout history that immediately bring upon us mournful hearts. For our parents, this question was, ""Where were you when JFK was shot?" For our grandparents, "Where were you when Pearl Harbor was bombed?"
Then, there are the questions that give us triumph: "Where were you when Neil Armstrong took his first step on the moon?" "Where were you on D-Day when the troops stormed Normandy?"
For ten years, we have been asking each other this question, "Where were you on 9/11?"
Today, we ask ourselves this question: "Where were you when you found out Osama bin Laden was dead?" Perhaps this question brings relief to some of you - relief of the ten years of hunting a terrorist, vindication for the many lives lost, hope for the future...
But I do still feel sorrow - the sorrow of knowing there is such terror in the world, the sorrow of remembering 9/11, the sorrow from knowing that this battle is far from over.
Where was I on 9/11?
I was in Pinegar apartments, my junior year of college. I'd been following the news like a hawk in preparation for my Public Relations admittance exam. As I stumbled out of bed to get ready for gymnastics class, my roommates pulled me into the living room saying something like, "You are probably going to want to see this." I saw on my 27-inch tube television an image of one of the twin towers, smoke billowing from inside.
I remember walking to class trying to tell everyone I encountered what had happened. Before the days when everyone had internet at their fingertips, time on campus typically meant being out of touch with reality for a bit. We were all shocked. I don't think any of us realized the ramifications of the events of that day. My parents called me and told me to fill up my gas tank because gas in Ohio was over $4/gallon (in the day when gas was typically $1.50). One of the questions on my PR entry exam was, indeed, "Who was the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks?" That same PR entry exam started my path towards my New York City internship in 2003, where we visited Ground Zero on our first day. I've taken many friends to this site since then. I never could get my sister there until this past Thanksgiving when our hotel overlooked the construction for the new memorial - she was too afraid of the emotional impact the destruction would have on her.
Fast forward to last night.
Where was I when I heard the news about bin Laden?
I was sitting on the couch with my friends Ann, Megan, and Nichole at my dear Nichole's house in Draper. I received a text from a number I did not know - "Osama bin Laden is dead. The US has his body." I thought it was some kind of texting hoax and if I texted back I was going to be charged some preposterous fee. We all laughed at the absurdity of it all. Minutes after we parted, Ann texted me to let me know my unknown texter was legit. Nichole, Megan, and I then walked into the home of our friends Luke and Jonathan. On the television, the news flashed through on every channel and they had the articles pulled up on the internet. The whole world was abuzz with equivalent amounts of rejoicing and sorrow.
I ask you this: Where were you when you heard the news about bin Laden? 9/11?