There are certain events in history that will often beg the question: Where were you? Where were you when Pearl Harbor was hit? Where were you when Kennedy was shot? Where were you when the Challenger blew up? Where were you when the two towers were hit?
I love these questions and it is not because of morbid fixation. I don’t want to know history from facts; I want to know history from stories. I want to picture what it was like. I want to feel the emotion of that moment with the storyteller.
Pearl Harbor was bombed exactly thirty-three years before I was born. But when I think about it, I picture my grandfather in his college dorm gathered around an old radio, hearing the news, knowing his life had just changed forever. Kennedy was shot about twelve years before I was born but I know my father sat in a college lecture and how the class all left un-dismissed when the news broke.
But I can tell you where I was eleven years ago today when the two towers were hit. I remember the sickening ache in my gut as I watched them crumple to the ground live. I remember the days that followed as the country struggled to find its emotional feet. I remember watching the country unite and heroes rise up for unexpected places.
Story has the power to change someone like the facts never could. That is why I write. I have never written an historical fiction but the idea intrigues me.
Whether you write or not, you have a story. Pass on those stories, so as your kids learn history in the class they don’t just know the facts but what it was like to life through it.
So, where were you?