Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Major News Events During Your Life

It’s Saturday night once again and it’s time for my favorite weekend activity – Saturday Night Genealogy Fun with Randy Seaver.

Today’s topic:

1) What are the major news events that happened during your life that you remember where you were when you heard about them?

Given that I think some of us are close in age, the news events might not vary much, but here goes:

  1. Abington Township, PA v. Schempp – 1963 – I don’t think I ever heard the name of this case, but I most definitely remember the repercussions, which were huge. Although I attended public school, every single morning, the day began with a reading from the Bible, the flag salute and then singing of the national anthem. When the Supreme Court decision that banned Bible reading because it violated the separation of church and state, it made a huge impression on my young mind. I was in the sixth grade by then, and I don’t remember having any particular feelings one way or the other on the subject, but I do remember how unhappy the teachers were.

2. President Kennedy Assassination on 22 November 1963 – I was in the sixth grade when the principal appeared at the door of our classroom, signaling the teacher to come talk with her. She was crying and Mrs. Wachs, my teacher, was crying when she came back in. She told us that President Kennedy had been shot in Dallas, Texas and we were all dismissed early to go home. Nana was the caretaker for my brother and I when we got home after school. She hadn’t had the television on and asked why we were home early. I was the one who told her the news.

3. Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show on 9 February 1964 – Growing up in New Jersey and living a stone’s throw from New York City, the Ed Sullivan Show was a biggie every Sunday night. A classmate of mine had their autographs because her uncle happened to be on the flight from London to New York that they were on. Did we all ever envy her and we couldn’t wait to see the Beatles on television. February 9th also happened to be my dad’s birthday, but I don’t remember a thing about celebrating it that year! The Beatles overshadowed everything. I actually got to go to their Shea Stadium concert, but with all the screaming (no, I wasn’t one of them), you couldn’t hear a single song. The ticket price was extravagant, too – $5.50!

4. Martin Luther King Jr. Assassination on 4 April 1968 – I heard the news of Dr. King’s assassination in Memphis, Tennessee on the news at home. In the midst of the Civil Rights movement, his death was a huge loss.

5. Robert F. Kennedy Assassination on 6 June 1968 – I was at home listening to the radio, probably the morning of 7 June, when the announcement was made that Bobby Kennedy had been assassinated the night before in a Los Angeles hotel. I remember thinking how terrible it was that assassination was becoming a frequent event, as RFK died only a couple of months after Martin Luther King Jr.

6. Moon Landing on 20 July 1969 – I was spending the summer with my aunt, uncle and cousins on Lake Winnispesaukee and worked at the Dairy Bar that day. I got home after work and my aunt had the television on so we could watch Neil Armstrong take the historic first step. My Nana never believed that we made it to the moon – she said it was something they made up on TV!

7. Challenger Accident on 28 January 1986 – I was at school and it just so happened that the principal and I were interviewing people to fill an aide position in my classroom. We had a short break in between the interviewees and the television was on in the staff lounge. By chance, we were watching the lift off when the Challenger exploded.

8. 9-11 on 11 September 2001 – I was in my car, driving the three miles from home to school. My mind was on that night, as Back to School Night was scheduled for that evening.  I had the radio on and the news reporter started talking about a terror attack. At first, I thought it happened in Israel. Then I realized it was in New York. Our classrooms all had televisions in them, so I immediately turned on mine. It quickly became evident how massive the attack was. Back to School Night, not surprisingly, was pushed back two weeks and everyone at school pretty much spent the day glued to the TV screen.

Thank you, Randy, for this week’s SNGF.


2 thoughts on “Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Major News Events During Your Life”

  1. Yes, being of similar ages, we have similar memories of these events. I enjoyed reading yours.

  2. The Beatles…that’s so cool that you got to see them live!

    The assassinations…the 60s were such a horrible time for that, with MLK being, IMHO, the most egregious murder of them all. While I was alive for MLK and RK, I don’t remember hearing the news.

    Re: the moon landing – after I posted to my blog, I remembered the story my mum tells that on that July day she pointed up to the moon and said to me (I was 3½) “There’s a man up there.” I looked back at her and said, with absolute confidence: “I know.” Of course, I was probably thinking about a picture I’d seen in a story book of “the man in the moon” and didn’t fully grasp the importance of what she was telling me.

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