All you Baby Boomers out there will probably relate the most to this question. Perhaps that’s because we’ve lived through so many explosive events that created big headlines around the world.

Historical markers—some good, some bad. Many were violent. All memorable events that shook my generation to the core and redefined our culture in so many significant ways. Even post-Boomers will identify in your own ways to the subjects I’ve chosen here.

This is a conversational game we’ve all played. Where were you when…?

The answers are highly personal because the questions tap into our unique experiences, eliciting memories that have tentacles to so many other peripheral recollections. The older I get, the more I revel in sharing nostalgic moments with my wife, family, and close friends. Reflections tied to where I was at a specific time, and where I was headed.

In this regard, I could spend hours in front of YouTube. It whisks me back to performances, interviews, events, and historical eras, with film that had been long locked away. It feeds us archival footage that has the power to resurrect some of our most precious and sometimes difficult reflections.

Here are mine. Yours may be different. I’d love to hear them.

Where were you when…President Kennedy was assassinated?

Health class. Orville Wright Junior High School in Los Angeles. Some minutes after 11 a.m. on Nov. 22, 1963. The year before I’d come to my first real awareness of global events, having completed a blow-by-blow media report about the Cuban Missile Crisis— a two-week doomsday scenario. Those classroom drills that drove kids under their desks in anticipation of a nuclear holocaust. Good luck with that, kids. On that awful day, I remember going numb at the loudspeaker announcement about the shooting, unsure how to respond, this being my first real brush with death. A crushing, violent death. Three days later I watched the murder of Lee Harvey Oswald on national TV. I was forever changed, as was the nation, which underwent a cultural revolution the consequences of which we are still living through today.

Where were you when…The Beatles conquered America?

Glued to the Ed Sullivan show, first on Sunday night, Feb. 9, 1964, and then again on the 16th and 23rd. The nation was still reeling from the loss of our young President. After their last performance I remember wondering, “What just happened here?” The British Invasion, for one, forever changing the rock scene. Beatlemania. It propelled me head-long into learning the guitar and becoming part of a rock band that defined my high school years and led to precious, life-long friendships.

To this day, I’m an ardent Beatles fan. But I’ll always attach those Ed Sullivan episodes to my brother Morrie, who was older by five years, by then a serious classical guitarist and lutenist. “Check the TV Guide,” he’d said for weeks, “and tell me when the Beatles are coming.” I love my brother and miss him terribly. He died way too young. He, as much as John, Paul, George, and Ringo, planted a passion for music in my soul. We watched the phenomenon that captivated the nation together.

And where was I just past 10 p.m. on the night (Dec. 8, 1980) John Lennon was murdered? About to turn in, when the phone rang, and Morrie told me to turn on the news. I was overcome with shock and extreme sadness. The innocence of my youth had been stolen. The dream was over. The Beatles would never be reunited.

Where were you when…Terrorists flew two airliners into the Twin Towers?

Karen and I were getting ready to leave for work, like any other Monday morning. Me to my corporate job, Karen to her classroom. The TV was blaring the news when suddenly, the camera cut away to live shots of the first tower, spewing smoke. A small plane off course, the newscasters speculated.

Sitting on the bed, stupefied, I watched the second plane, Flight 175 from Boston’s Logan Airport, headed for LAX, veer toward the south tower. “Oh, my God, Karen. Come here, quick.” Like so many Americans, we were frozen in place, trying to coax our brains into accepting the devastating scene we’d just witnessed.

Of course, the Pentagon was subsequently hit, and the fourth plane, Flight 93, thanks to the brave actions of some American heroes, crashed nose-first into a Pennsylvania field. Averted from the intended target, most likely the White House or the Capitol Building.

It wasn’t until a few days later that I put two and two together, realizing how much more devastating that morning could’ve been for our family. One week before, at quarter past 8 in the morning, our daughter Lindsay stepped aboard United Airlines Flight 175 to fly home. She had driven across the country with a close friend, helping her to move to Boston for college.

The same plane, same run, one week before its ill-fated final flight.


Milestones that evoke memories, some nostalgic, some sad. So many.

Where were you when the Challenger blew apart…when man first set foot on the moon…when MLK and RFK were assassinated in 1968…when the first military draft lottery was drawn in 1969…when the Corona Virus Pandemic was officially declared.

Where were you when…?

You fill in the blank.