Here's a quick one for you to ponder. What are the three most historic events that have happened in your life?
I was born January 5, 1970 and I was just a toddler when the Vietnam War ended as well as Watergate so I'm not going to include them in my list. Here are the three that had the biggest impact on me:
Iran Hostage Crisis: November 4, 1979 to January 20, 1981
I never had much of a grasp on world wide news during my childhood (why would you?). This event marked the first time I became aware of what was out there and I didn't like what I saw. I remember being terribly upset that these crazy Iranian people took 52 of our citizens hostage, paraded them in front of the camera daily, and we seemed powerless to do anything.
We watched the 6:30 evening news as a family every night and the story dominated the news for 444 days. It was terrible watching images of our blindfolded hostages and what seemed like nightly images of the U.S. flag being burned daily. I remember the relief when they were released as soon as Ronald Reagan was sworn in as president.
The fall of the Berlin Wall: November 9, 1989
As a German major in college who had visited West Germany, East Germany and Berlin on a few occasions during my teens, this event really hit home. It's hard to explain the Cold War to younger people but there was just this overwhelming feeling of political uncertainty between the East and West. There was always the fear that something might kick off at any point and a nuclear war would ensue.
The fall of the Berlin Wall was the first signal that democracy and the Western World were going to win out. There was happiness for the citizens of East Germany in knowing that their lifestyle and circumstances were going to improve. Although the Soviet Union as we knew it didn't officially fall until 1991 this event was seen as a catalyst for that event.
This event also impacted my career. At the time I was a junior at Lebanon Valley and looking to get into a career with a big German multinational corporation that had a need for people fluent in both German and English. With the fall of the wall there was a sudden influx of German workers who shared the same skills as I did. Kind of a bummer!
The United States darkest day: September 11, 2001
Like every other American I can tell you exactly where I was and what I was doing as the events unfolded in front of our eyes. It was terrifying to watch and it sucked knowing that we were powerless to stop it.
I just couldn't believe that these things could happen to us. It was surreal.
Although I thankfully didn't know anyone that perished due to those events I still can't think back to the event without tears welling up in my eyes. As I type this I'm struggling to hold back the tears. It's such an overwhelmingly emotional experience and I hope that people never forget the events of that day or the poor victims of the events.
This event changed the American view of the world around us. We suddenly realized that the threat of extremist Islamic terrorists was very real and that we most likely will be dealing with the treat from radical Islam for many years to come. Scary stuff.
I would love to hear the three events that had the most profound effect on you.