Sadly, this has been inspired by the events of the Sydney siege, of which I’m watching the rolling broadcast on TV as we speak. My thoughts are with the hostages, and I hope it’s a peaceful resolution with no injuries or fatalities.
The list below are from those historical moments where you always remember where you were when lives changed forever.
6 – 1997 and the death of Princess Diana
I remember my mother was a huge fan of Princess Diana. I didn’t know why exactly, and we’re certainly not monarchists (in reality, I don’t mind one way or another).
I was only 13 at the time, and was watching television (so I presume it was a weekend). I saw the news update, and my first reaction was to dash into my mother’s bedroom where she was having a nap. She was initially pissed at me for waking her up, but once I told her what had happened she jumped out of bed and joined me in front of the tv as more and more information came forward.
RIP Diana, from what I know of you now you were an amazing human being, and didn’t deserve such a ghastly ending.
7 – September 11, 2001 and the World Trade Centre Incident
I was staying at my friend Mel’s house, where we had been studying all night for our grade 11 science exam. We woke up and turned the TV on, saw the news and changed the channel. Still the news. Flicked channels again, and more news. Finally we started to pay attention to what was going on, and realised.
At the time I was too naive to understand what was going on. Yeah it seemed bad, and flying a plane into a building sucked (and was the first time I’d ever heard of it). But I thought meh, big deal. It’s like seeing a war on the TV – it won’t impact me right?
Over the course of the day I began to understand more and more. It was much more than just any old war. This one had the world pissed. Really pissed. It’s the closest I (hopefully) will ever understand what a world war must feel like.
Ask anyone, and they will be able to tell you exactly where they were when this one happened.
8 – 1997 and the Thredbo Landslide
1997 wasn’t the greatest year, Princess Diana passed away (mentioned above), two of my grandparents passed away from a car accident, and the snow village of Thredbo had a monumental land slide. I had just received the enormous television as part of my deceased grandparents estate, which meant that I lived in front of the TV for a while, enjoying the novalty of it.
During the rolling coverage of the landslide, I was in front of the TV. For the hours that the rescue teams slaved away, I played with toys in my bedroom, but the TV still played.
When Stuart Diver was rescued 2 days later, I was still in front of the TV. I cried as they pulled him free, so thrilled by it all.
Despite laying next to his wife as she died, he still managed to have a sense of humour:
Steve Hurst, who used monitoring equipment to confirm the movement, yelled out “Rescue team working overhead, can anyone hear me?” to which a voice called back “I can hear you.” When asked if he had sustained any injuries, the voice replied “No, but my feet are bloody cold!”
All of that from a leaking water pipe.
9 – 2007 and the death of Steve Irwin
Steve Irwin, the great Crocodile Hunter. A true “fair dinkum” Australian. He encompassed everything that symbolised Australians at the time – strange slang words, a casual attitude, and bad hair.
I was quite close, physically, when he died. My partner at the time and I were on a nearby reef, where we had been on a snorkelling cruise on the Great Barrier Reef. We had spent time on and off an island, and were on the boat on the way home when my phone finally came back into reception. I received a text and spluttered “Oh my god! Steve Irwin has died!”
The word spread around the boat like wildfire, and by the time we reached Cairns it was a surreal feeling. Walking around the town the following day, I experienced first-hand the tide of hate from the locals towards stingrays, who had taken their beloved Steve.
It was truly one of those moments when you really don’t believe the news that you’re reading.
10 – 2013 and the Boston Marathon bombings
I will only ever remember the Boston Marathon bombings because I stayed online talking to a friend of mine, Mike D, who lived in Boston. He was at home of the time, and thankfully safe. But 24 hours earlier he had been in that exact spot.
I streamed the news non-stop on my computer from a site he gave me, watching as the chase went down, until they finally caught him, hiding in the boat.
I’ve still not yet met Mike in person to this day, but I’m forever grateful that he was safe. It’s a shame that there is such violence in the world, and I hope one day the terrorism will stop.
It scares me at the moment, because there are people that I call friends who have started with the extreme language about Muslims. Despite my best efforts, I’m unable to get through to them that it’s not all “muslims” that are doing the bombings, just like in the rein of the KKK it wasn’t all Christians that were racist. Or not all Germans that hated Jews.
Point being is that there are the extremists, and then there are the others that have their own religious beliefs but still yet long to live in harmony with the rest of the world. Just like the rest of us.
RIP to all those who have died in vain. I don’t know what it will take to end it.