THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Who do we remember the terrible dates?

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The death of President Kennedy was a defining moment in recent history and subsequently a whole generation would ask the question… do you remember where you were and what you were doing when Kennedy died?

I was only a child, so I was probably nowhere important, but over the years that question has been reframed a thousand times to include such things as the deaths of celebrities as well as huge global events and disasters.

I do remember where I was when the space shuttle Challenger exploded just 70 seconds after take off. It was January 28th 1986 and I was part of a small crowd watching the television through the shop window at Rumbelows on Lincoln High Street.

We all stood in shock. It certainly was a moment I shall never forget.

Likewise with the Bradford City stadium fire when I recall sitting in the front room of a house I was visiting.

It was absolutely unbelievable watching the disaster unfold on that Saturday afternoon in May 1985, and the voice of John Helm reporting the horror still rings clear in my memory.

Two years later, I was at the airport on route to my holiday as the Herald of Free Enterprise story played out on the news. I was sat in my own front room in Mansfield as I watched the coverage of the second plane crashing into the World Trade Centre on 9/11.

The day Roy Orbison died, the day Benny Hill died, the day Frankie Howerd died, the day Walter Matthau died, I was going on holiday on all of these days. (Perhaps I should stay at home more!)

Why is it that we seem able to recall so clearly where we were when bad things happened? Is it just because we are human?


Humanist Minister