I was born late in November 1963. I grew up knowing that every birthday would have what I came to know as "anniversary stories." My birthday, especially if it had a zero or a five in it, had to be marked by stories about the events in Dallas and Washington in a terrifying time.
But once I started school, almost every year meant getting toward Thanksgiving and hearing "Oh, you kids never knew about President Kennedy" or just "You never knew him." The shock was obvious. But when you hear it every year, obvious is tiring.
I thought of that this morning, when I heard the president speaking at the Pentagon and mentioning a young lady whose father had died in the attacks, before she was born.
She is now 17 years old.
A whole group of teens and younger kids are going to face the same "you never knew" attitude that grownups showed me when I was a kid. I don't want to be part of that group.
I'd rather be part of the people I liked better when I was growing up -- the people who said "Let me tell you the story," then told me what it was like doing whatever they were doing from Nov. 22-25, 1963. It's like another famous expression, "This is where I came in" -- but I'm learning pieces of that literally.
So be patient with those who want to re-tell the stories of 18 years ago today. The stories need preserving -- and, with the new audience growing up every year, the stories may fuel a love of history and storytelling.
Whether you want to refresh your memories or whether you're moved to tears and have to turn away, this is a day for the stories.
Filed under: Expressions