Last Monday, December 8th, I blogged about baking. But the date 12/8, kept pinging my memory, why is this date important? Then I noticed on the Facebook “trending” list that it was the 34th anniversary of John Lennon’s death.
I shared in a status update the who, where, and why of my life when I found out. I was 14 and my family was on our way to the Christmas tree farm to cut our own when the news came on the radio. My stepmom was driving and was so upset she had to pull over. It was dark and snowy and I remember the whup-whup of the windshield wipers as she turned up the volume in disbelief.
Lots of people recall their exact actions the moment they heard that Kennedy had been shot on November 22, 1963. They remember the who, where and why, but also the loudness of everything else as compared to the silence of stunned awe, the scents are still vivid, the colors still bloom in their memories, all tied together. A world partook in the shock and grief, they shared a social moment in time and history.
December 8, 1980 was my first social moment, the first time I felt connected to strangers the globe over through the sudden, unexpected and brutal death of John Lennon. It was kind of a big deal for me.
There have been other moments. I remember watching the video footage of the Challenger explosion as I stood in the doorway to my dorm room, on my way in or out, I don’t recall, but I vividly remember being rooted in the open door and watching on the portable television as my neighbor cried and begged that they stop looping the explosion. “People died!”
And of course there was the most unifying social moment of my lifetime, 9/11. Similar to the Kennedy assassination, the falling of the Twin Towers in 2001 brought not only a nation together, but also the world. Everyone has a story, a social moment locked in time, an emotional reaction as the unbelievable happened before our eyes.
Not all social moments are tragedies– the moon landing in 1969 was unifying in an optimistic and exciting way. The fall of the Berlin wall on November 9, 1989 was another incredible thing to witness.
Social moments are an important part of our global culture. With more than 7 billion human beings on the planet, it’s hard to believe there could be any one thing we share. Our reactions to these experiences prove our humanity and bond us with our earthly brothers. In a way, I believe they are good for us.
By saying I think these events, these shared experiences, are “good for us,” I am in NO WAY saying we need more.