Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Where Were You?

There are certain moments when things happen in the world around us that are so momentous that we remember exactly where we were. To revisit those moments, all we have to do is close our eyes and we are right back there. I say this because ESPN's outstanding 30 for 30 series premiered its new documentary tonight, "June 17, 1994". Using only news footage with no narration, director Brett Morgen puts you right in the thick of the events of that day: Arnold Palmer's last round at the U.S. Open, the parade for the New York Rangers, the opening ceremonies of the World Cup in Chicago, Ken Griffey, Jr., tying the record for most home runs by June 30 as the strike loomed, Game 5 of the NBA Finals at Madison Square Garden, and the low-speed chase with a white Ford Bronco down I-5 in Los Angeles. (Note: Morgen makes the very astute point in talking about the film that the O.J. situation was what led to the reality TV craze. I never thought about that, but it is so true.) I remember exactly where I was that night. I was in my basement, getting ready to go to college orientation in a couple of days, watching the Knicks and then riveted to the TV as NBC went split-screen with Tom Brokaw and the chase footage. I flipped back and forth between NBC and ABC because I preferred ABC News at the time. It's a great film that brings back a lot of easy memories.

Some other times that pop into my mind:
  • January 28, 1986: I was sitting in my fourth-grade classroom having just gotten back from lunch. We took our seats but no adult was there. After a couple of minutes, our teacher walked in, pale as a sheet. "Something went wrong with the shuttle launch..."
  • October 17, 1989: I was in the car and pissed that I was going to miss the start of Game 3 of the World Series. Got home, ran into the house, and couldn't understand why Ted Koppel was on the screen instead of baseball. Can't forget Al Michaels and Jim Palmer staying in the stadium to report, even as it was feared to be unsafe.
  • September 11, 2001: I had just gotten to work and had stepped outside with my chain-smoking co-worker. Someone in the next office over ran out and said that a plane had run into the World Trade Center. We went in and told our co-workers and all thought that was unfortunate, but weird. Went back out again in a few minutes and the people ran out to tell us a second plane had hit. We ran inside as a co-worker pulled out a portable TV to get the news and all hell started to break loose inside the office.
  • And, so it's not all bad, November 4, 2008: I had been telling my mother all day that there was nothing to worry about. When Chris Matthews called Ohio for Obama, I called her and she was crying with the realization of what was happening. I teared up then for a second, but not again for the rest of the night. When the clock struck 11, MSNBC went into their projection music and I'm now going to see if I can remember it by heart without looking it up: David Gregory: "And now Keith has some history to tell you about." Keith Olberman: "We project that Barack Obama will be the forty-fourth President of the United States." (Dammit, actual: Gregory: "11 o'clock on the east coast. Keith, we can report history." Olberman: "Barack Obama is projected to be the next President of the United States of America.")

Anyone else have memories of those things or anything else?

No comments: