Forgive me for saying this, but in a strange way today feels like 9/11.
Of course, there is no comparison between the horrid loss of over 3000 lives due to a cowardly terrorist attack, and the tragic loss of 7 astronauts due to a scientific error, accident, or malfunction. I wouldn’t even begin to equate the two in terms of scope, implication, or anything else.
That being said, both days have that “twilight-zone” sort of feeling to them like they’re not quite real. Both are disasters that will go down in the history of the United States and that draw sympathy from the world. Both events are those kinds of days that, decades later, I know I will always remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when I first heard – and so will just about everyone else.
In both cases, I heard about what happened on the radio, while only semi-listening. Both on 9/11 and today, a news brief broke into the middle of a music sweep on an FM station – an unusual occurrence. And in both cases, I initially reacted with denial, thinking it was some sort of sick practical joke, and not fully processing what I was hearing. The denial then gave way to shock, and amazingly enough, in both cases I went ahead with my regular daily activities for a few hours (on 9/11 I went to class, and today I went skiing). Both on 9/11 and today, I returned home and glued myself to CNN, and only then did it begin to sink in. In both cases, the aftermath will be much more involved than the actual event.
Like I said, forgive me for feeling this way. But events like today’s tend to leave me shaken.
I’ll always remember when I heard that Yitzchak Rabin was shot.
I’ll always remember when I heard that a bomb went off at Hebrew University . . . at the Sbarro Pizzeria . . . at a Passover seder in Netanya . . . at the Dolphanarium Disco . . . in downtown Tel Aviv . . .
I will always remember when I heard that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center.
And I will probably always remember when I heard that the Columbia Space Shuttle was lost.