Thinking back on my life, I realize most of the time I’ve viewed history on the television or heard it on the radio. I was in junior high school when President Kennedy was assassinated. I went home and watched accounts of it on our black and white TV. When Lee Harvey Oswald was shot, we were listening to the radio on the way home from my grandparents’ house.
I was at work during the 9/11 attacks, heard the account on the radio and rushed to the break room to see it on TV. When the Challenger exploded, I heard about it in the pediatrician’s office where I had taken my sick son. I remember coming home the afternoon of the Columbine shootings and finding the now grown up son lying on the sofa watching the events on television. Just recently my six-year-old granddaughter told me she’d seen “this show on TV.” She was referring to the bombings at the Boston Marathon.
I guess the closest I’ve been to history was when I was seventeen. My high school band from Oak Ridge, Tennessee, was in Washington, DC, to march in the Cherry Blossom Festival parade. Martin Luther King was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. Our trip was cut short and the parade cancelled. We left the city in a hurry because of riots breaking out around us.
In this day with instant communication via television, Twitter and the Internet, it is easier to feel part of history even though you are a bystander hundreds of miles away.