It has already started, the “What were you doing when you heard the news that Osama bin Laden was killed?” Most of us were getting ready for bed or already there on a Sunday evening when the news broke. Not much else to remember, just that as soon as we heard, we couldn’t turn off the television.
Same thing with the bombing of the twin towers on 9/11. Almost. Yes, to this day, we ask each other “Do you remember where you were or what you were doing when the twin towers were destroyed?” What sticks in my mind more than anything is the vision of watching then President George W. Bush sitting in front of a group of young children, reading to them from a book that just happened to be upside down. At that moment I knew that George W. Bush knew before any of us exactly what was going down.
I was working in Bradenton, Florida, just about 5 miles up the road from the very school in Sarasota, Florida where our President was when the towers came under attack. I watched the horror unfold on the televisions set up in the game room of the company I worked for while simultaneously looking out the door of the building and up into the sky to watch as Air Force One took off, scurrying our President presumably back toward the nation’s capital, but now knowing he probably wouldn’t be brought there until the danger had passed.
That was almost ten years ago and none of it has blurred. What I remember most, besides the vision of the planes flying into the side of those towers, is that upside down book and the look on George W. Bush’s face. I can’t remember seeing surprise, which actually surprised me and, to this day, still does. There was no reaction whatsoever, just a limp book in his hands as he seemed to be listening to someone telling him something. I remember imagining someone saying to him “Ok, now George, put the book down, get up slowly, and don’t let on that anything is amiss,” or something to that effect.
And then this past Sunday, my first knowledge of the news that Osama bin Laden had been killed came by reading the news online. I immediately turned on the television and the oddest thing came to mind. I’d lay odds President Barack Obama was not reading a book upside down when the deal went down.