When I got there, I saw a crowd of students gathered in the television room, hugging each other and crying. Other students were gathered in small clusters, also hugging, praying, crying. When I found out what had happened, I joined them.
When Dr. King was slain, I heard the news in my car. I was driving to work as a counselor at an inner-city Chicago youth serving agency. As I entered the neighborhood, the sky was red with flame. Riots. In hundreds of cities throughout the country, the same seemingly senseless violence was happening. We remember.
On the morning of 9/11, my day was just starting. I was teaching English at Anderson High School then. My second period class had just got underway when the news came over the school's PA system. Nobody knew for sure what was happening, but it sounded as though the entire country was under a terrorist attack. For the rest of that day, I, along with each of my classes, watched the events and heard possible explanations unfold. America remembers that day.
The personal common denominator for me was that, with each of these unforgettable events, one of the first people I talked to was my mother. She had a kind of special, comforting wisdom about such things. Even though I was a fully grown man, like a child, I constantly sought her wisdom and her take on life's fortunes and misfortunes.
Oh yes. This thought: isn't it odd how we are able to so precisely remember times of great tragedy, but are challenged to remember (except perhaps on a very personal level) times of great joy? In general, sometimes I think we forget far more than we remember. It's the way human memory works, I guess.
Anyway, as I grow older, more and more I am able to find some peace and joy in my life, whatever life brings. As my mother often said, "weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning." I remember.