General Question

EmptyNest's avatar

What is the oldest famous or historic event you remember?

Asked by EmptyNest (2033points) November 7th, 2011
53 responses
“Great Question” (9points)

I remembering watching JFK’s funeral on TV in 1963. I also watched the Verrazano Bridge, connecting Staten Island and Brooklyn, being built. It was completed in 1963. I remember watching the Beatles getting off the plane the first time they came to America in 1964 and their first appearance on the Ed Sullivan show in 1964. What do you remember, and where were you at the time?

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Blackberry's avatar

I’m still young, so I think it’s 9/11 for me, and Obama’s election. I bet even racists got the chills seeing Obama waving to all those people with his family. Shit got real. Lol.

iamthemob's avatar

Challenger explosion is probably it for me.

JLeslie's avatar

Reagan being shot, and then Challenger next.

muffin16's avatar

Kurt Cobains death. It was horrible, I felt a piece of me die. I was in Las Vegas at the time. A friend, who had heard about it on the radio, called me and we both were in shock and sadness. Worst news I had ever gotten at that time in my life.

lillycoyote's avatar

Yes, we must be about the same age. I remember being at school when it was announced, over the loudspeakers in the classroom, that Kennedy had been shot and the adults, the teachers just fell apart. I was very young, about 5½, but Kennedy seemed like a very nice man and he his kids were like me, my age and watching all the grown ups fall apart was kind of scary. And then, the same thing at home. My parents were, obviously, kind of in shock and very upset. It was like the world of the grown ups was falling apart. That’s kind of hard for a 5 year old to handle, it was for me. Then three days later, my uncle, one my mother’s younger brothers, was killed in a car accident. That was a pretty rough week for my grown ups, who were supposed to be strong and not fall apart. :-(

digitalimpression's avatar

The Catch – I was just a kid and it was one of those moments that got me hooked on football.

9/11 of course – I was in Connecticut, I remember saying of the first plane “what an idiot”.

My home for 2 years being sunk – Too many memories to share in this little box

Hurricane Katrina – I had just gotten out of the military (round 1) and was wasting my life away in a small town.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

The Gulf War, maybe. Kurt Cobain’s death, the OJ Simpson trial. I was born in 1982, so I probably have a vague recollection of things that happened before that, but these are big events that jump out at me.

Blueroses's avatar

The first memory that I can be sure was mine and not just seen on the History Channel was watching the Patriot missles on TV like fireworks only my mom wasn’t saying ooh and ahh.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

The new reports of Robert Kennedy getting shot in the hotel lobby or kitchen.

EmptyNest's avatar

@lillycoyote, that sounds about right. I was six. So sorry about all the tragedy that followed for you. :-(
@digitalimpression, OMG, I said the same thing about the first plane hitting the WTC! Made me sick to my stomach when I realized how serious it was. I used to work there.
Oh, by the way, I didn’t mean to put this in the General catagory. I meant to put it in social. Can a Modifier change that for me?

zenvelo's avatar

I remember all of the same things as @EmptyNest, I also remember when Alan Shephard went into space, and also John Glenn’s orbital flight. We had to get up super early, like 3:30 or 4, to watch the launch on the west coast.

I also remember the 1960 California Democratic primary, because I went with my older brother and sister to the campaign headquarters to get buttons and bumper stickers for Kennedy.

lillycoyote's avatar

@EmptyNest You can PM one of the mods, though it can be hard to tell which ones are “on duty” sometimes, it’s probably best to PM Auggie,, the community manager, she’s usually around at this time, and request that the question be moved to social, it’s pretty easy to do or if you want you can flag your question or I can flag it for you and request that it be moved to social, however you want to do it.

DominicX's avatar

I was originally going to say 9/11, but vaguely, I do remember the Monica Lewinsky scandal. I don’t remember knowing exactly what it was at the time (I would have been 7 years old) but I remember seeing her name on TV headlines and I remember seeing stuff about Clinton’s impeachment.

Response moderated (Spam)
Sunny2's avatar

The bombing of Pearl Harbor. Republicans were angry that we went to war, but my father’s ship (without him on it), the USS West Virginia was at the bottom of Pearl Harbor and my family knew we had to fight back.

Roby's avatar

Kennedy assassination. I was about 15 years old. First major impact event.

shrubbery's avatar

I was four when a massacre happened in Port Arthur, south of my hometown. This may not have made worldwide news but it was a big deal in Tasmania and Australia. However I’m not sure if I actually remember this or that I’ve been told about it so many times that I’ve projected it back on my memories.

I do however, definitely remember Princess Diana dying. I was 5 and I remember drawing a little picture of her in tribute. I think I’ve still got it somewhere.

I also vaguely remember a lot of hype about Dolly the sheep.

saraaaaaa's avatar

The death of Princess Diana.

FutureMemory's avatar

I distinctly remember Reagan’s inauguration in January ‘81..(thinking).. I would have been 7. I was in my mother’s apartment, watching our ancient over-sized black and white television.

I’m about 95% sure I remember seeing Star Wars during its first theatrical release with my parents in 1977. I think it stayed at the local theater for at least a year though, so who knows what the date actually was.

wilma's avatar

I remember all the same things as you do @EmptyNest I also remember Kennedy being elected. My grandma picked us up from school on the day he was shot. No one ever picked us up from school, we always walked home. She was upset and gravely said to us, something terrible has happened. I was home from school sick and was watching the TV when Ruby shot Oswald live. My mom sent me next door to tell the neighbor to turn her TV on.

Cruiser's avatar

JFK assassination….I will never forget the Presidential Seal popping up in the middle of my Mighty Mouse cartoon and then seeing my mom cry so.

Bellatrix's avatar

The moon landing in 1969 is the first historic event I really remember. I can recall sitting with my uncle and aunt and watching it on the TV.

laureth's avatar

The Reagan/Carter presidential campaign. And the U.S. hockey team beating the Russians at the Olympics. :D

TheIntern55's avatar

The first event I vaugly remember was 9/11. I was about 4 or 5. All I remember is my babysitter crying and I couldn’t figure out why it was so important.
The first event that really impacted me was the Iraq War. By that time, my oldest brother had been in the army for about 4 years. I loved him and didn’t want him to leave. I didn’t know much about Iraq, but I knew from listening to adults that it was bad. He eventually went 4 tours, 2 in Iraq and 2 in Afghanistan. This war is all I remember pretty much, and I really want just want it to end.

tedibear's avatar

Watching Neil Armstrong walk on the moon. I was about 5 at the time and I’ve wanted to travel in space ever since. Just a note, I don’t know if I saw it “live” or as a replay later that day.

keobooks's avatar

The very first thing I remember was Jimmy Carter getting sworn in. I think I was 4 and my grandma was watching it on TV. I thought he looked like the happiest man in the world and I remember being so sad when Ronald Reagan got sworn in. It wasn’t because I was political, but I remembered Carter’s HUGE grin when he got sworn in and he had this pained sad look on his face when he was leaving office. I didn’t quite get why, but I felt sorry for him.

That same year, I think I had a teacher suffering from burnout because I remember that she had the classroom television on for a lot of events that most 2nd or 3rd grade teachers wouldn’t consider worth stopping class for.

First space shuttle launch—YES!
Every other space shuttle launch after that—not so much
Ronald Reagan Assassination attempt—YES!
Anwar Sadat Assassination—not really of interest to American elementary school students.

lynfromnm's avatar

I remember my parents discussing the wall being built in Berlin, so I guess that was about 1961. More vivid, 2 years later, I was at home with the mumps watching “Let’s Make a Deal” when the show was interrupted to announce JFK’s assassination. I was a shocked 9 year old, heartbroken.

poisonedantidote's avatar

The berlin wall coming down, and the gulf war a few years later.

smilingheart1's avatar

Two come to mind. My brother used to deliver the Toronto Star back in the early 60’s and so had plenty of opportunity to see some headers. I recall the death of Marilyn Monroe and also the Christine Keeler/Profumo Scandal hitting the lead stories.

Staalesen's avatar

The Berlin wall and the fall of the Iron Curtain I think…..

Brian1946's avatar

The earliest historic event that I remember hearing about is the sinking of the Andrea Doria, on July 25, 1956.

I think the next oldest one I remember occurred when the USSR launched Sputnik 1. IIRC, that was on October 4, 1957. Now I’m gonna see how far off my guess is.

cockswain's avatar

Definitely the Challenger explosion. I was in fifth grade and we talked about it minutes after it happened.

I slightly remember Reagan getting shot.

EmptyNest's avatar

@Sunny2 and @Brian1946, I’m impressed! Really great and fun answers everyone, thank you!

Brian1946's avatar


Thanks, and I’m also impressed by Sunny2’s answer.

Perhaps she’d like to answer the following question:

mattbrowne's avatar

Reports about Vietnam on German television in 1968 and the Moon landing in 1969.

EmptyNest's avatar

sind Sie Duetch oder ein sol dat? (Are you German or a soldier?) (I do not speak German but I’m at my BFF’s house condolescing my twisted ankle.) @mattbrowne

deni's avatar


Tropical_Willie's avatar

Eisenhower in motorcade in Los Angeles, about 1952.

Kardamom's avatar

The Moon Landing. My family and I sat around a little black and white TV in my brother’s bedroom and watched. It must have happened in the morning and we were probably still in our PJ’s, otherwise we would have been out in the living room. I just got goose bumps thinking about it. Plus, back then, you either watched it while it was happening live, or you didn’t see it at all, because there were no VCR’s or DVR’s back then. My brother got to meet Buzz Aldrin a couple of years ago and that was a real thrill for him.

rebbel's avatar

A happening that is the most vivid in my memory is that in 1973 we had so called Autoloze Zondagen (Car-Free Sundays) due to the ‘73 Oil Crisis.
We could roller skate on the highways, and we did!

deni's avatar

@Kardamom I would have pooped my pants if I’d been alive to see the moon landing. I really can’t imagine anything more exciting, EVER.

Kardamom's avatar

@deni It was extremely exciting. I was just barely 5 years old, but just knowing that it was supposed to happen on that day got us all worked into a frenzy. Plus back then, it was all so new and not humdrum like it is nowadays with the shuttle and everything.

Speaking of pooping your pants (or in this case mine) I was lucky enough to get to watch John Glenn (the first American to orbit the earth) go into outerspace for his final flight in 1998. Thankfully the big boss knew that everyone would really want to watch this historic mission, so they brought in a TV (ironically, it was also a little tiny black and white TV with really bad reception) but they let us watch. I cried when the newscaster said, “Godspeed John Glenn.”

lillycoyote's avatar

This is great question. It’s bringing back a lot of memories. There are certain things that you simply remember and certain things that kind of “burned into” you memory. I have a number of those “burned in” memories. I also remember the moon landing. I was at summer camp and we lived in cabins and did outdoorsy things but the moon landing was so important that someone brought in a T.V. and they gathered us all up in the dining hall so we could watch it. It was pretty amazing. And like @rebbel I vividly remember the 1973 Oil Crisis. It’s one of the reasons I’ve never taken the availability of oil and gas for granted. ‘73 was the year I got my driver’s license and not long after I started driving they implemented odd/even gas rationing. If I remember it correctly, if your license plate ended in an odd number, you could only buy gas on odd numbered days, and if it ended in an even number, you could only buy gas on even numbered days.

Brian1946's avatar

I could be wrong, but I think the 1973 Oil Crisis resulted in the implementation of a national 55 MPH speed limit, whereas there was another “crisis” in 1979 that resulted in the odd and even gas rationing.

OpryLeigh's avatar

Dunblane I think.

lillycoyote's avatar

@Brian1946 Odd and even rationing may have varied by state. But I’m almost certain it was 1973 because it happened when I was still living at home. In 1979 I was away at college. But, I’m having trouble getting a definitive answer and will have to look into it. Just checking Wickipedia, their entry on the 1973 crisis shows that there was odd/even rationing in 1973 but their entry on odd and even gas rationing only mentions the ‘78/‘79 oil crisis. The entry for the 1973 event cites a Time Magazine article that’s online, for the gas rationing issue, and I will be able to access that article, as a print subscriber, as soon as I find a damn magnifying glass so I can read the tiny print on my Time magazine so I can register on their site. :-)

EmptyNest's avatar

Yeah, I remember the gas crisis. It’s what started NYers wearing sneakers to work and then changing into heals. They were doing a lot more walking.

lillycoyote's avatar

@Brian1946 According to the Time article I mentioned, during the 1973 oil crisis, in the U.S., whether or not gas was rationed and the type of rationing employed did vary around the country, from state to state, city to city.

The full-tank syndrome is bringing out the worst in both buyers and sellers of that volatile fluid. When a motorist in Pittsburgh topped off his tank with only 110 worth and then tried to pay for it with a credit card, the pump attendant spat in his face. A driver in Bethel, Conn., and another in Neptune, N.J., last week escaped serious injury when their cars were demolished by passenger trains as they sat stubbornly in lines that stretched across railroad tracks. “These people are like animals foraging for food,” says Don Jacobson, who runs an Amoco station in Miami. “If you can’t sell them gas, they’ll threaten to beat you up, wreck your station, run over you with a car.” Laments Bob Graves, a Lexington, Mass., Texaco dealer: “They’ve broken my pump handles and smashed the glass on the pumps, and tried to start fights when we close. We’re all so busy at the pumps that somebody walked in and stole my adding machine and the leukemia-fund can.”

Rationing Plans. To help minimize such madness, officials in Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, Washington, B.C., Bade County, Fla., and other areas last week adopted Oregon-type rationing schemes that will allow motorists with even-numbered license plates to buy gas on even-numbered dates, and those with odd-numbered plates to buy on odd-numbered dates. Some states have begun requiring a $3 minimum purchase.

LOL. A $3 mandatory minimum purchase. Those were the days! $3 would have bought you about 8 gallons of gas in1973. We used to cruise around in those days, just like in That ‘70s Show, if there wasn’t party or something else to do, and everyone would chip in a quarter or 50 cents for gas and we’d be more than good for the night, even in the gas guzzlers we had back then.

bkcunningham's avatar

One of my first memories in life is my Mom and Dad walking into the house from church on Sunday, November 24, 1963 and my oldest sister screaming, “He’s going to get shot.” She screamed it over and over. Minutes later, Jack Ruby shot Lee Harvey Oswald live on television. There wasn’t automatic replay in those days. Somehow, my sister says she doesn’t know how, she knew what was going to happen.

My parents told the story and I have a faint memory of the tears and chaos in the room. I was about two and one-half years old, sick and didn’t go to church. My oldest sister stayed home from church to babysit me.

I also remember the Apollo manned moon landing in July 20, 1969. It was also on a Sunday. I remember sitting on the floor in our living room with my brothers and sisters in front of the television in total silence. My dad was nearly crying saying in a whisper, “Watch this. Watch this. This is history. Don’t ever forget this. This is history.”

JLeslie's avatar

I remember the gas crisis too. Lines at the gas stations. Only could get gas every other day. My parents were exempt because we had out of state plates, because my dad was military and kept his residency in a different state than where we lived.

And, I remember Carter running for President, and that he went to the innauguration in his sweater and everyone making a big deal about it.

LeavesNoTrace's avatar

Persian Gulf War…I remember seeing them dropping bombs on the gulf on the television. I think I was about 3 years old.

mattbrowne's avatar

@EmptyNest – Ja, ich bin Deutscher, meine beiden Kinder haben allerdings die amerikanische Staatsb├╝rgerschaft. Sie sind in Kansas geboren. Ich war von 1981 – 1983 Soldat. Any questions? I was 7 when Neil Armstrong walked on the Moon.

Strauss's avatar

I remember watching the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. I would have turned 5 in 1953, and I remember my dad explaining to me that the TV signal was sent to the US by way of a cable under the ocean.

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