Sunday, September 05, 2010

Name the one historical event... wish you could have seen in person.

What a fascinating question, and it was the q-and-a item highlighted on the video board at PNC Park during today's Major League Baseball game between Pittsburgh and Washington. I offer my perhaps feeble attempt at answering the question.

Below are my top 5 answers, and I list only those that have happened in my lifetime...

5.  The explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger. Sure, I, like many people, saw it happen on television, but I can only imagine what it must have been like to have been in Florida. America had grown so confident of its shuttle program that the thought of something going wrong seemed impossible to fathom.

4. The destruction of the Berlin Wall. The speed by which Communism was pushed aside in Central and Eastern Europe had no more symbolic image than when the wall came tumbling down. The raw emotion as decades of lusting for freedom boiled over must surely have been an unforgettable moment.

3. The Moon landing. Here again the symbolism perhaps outweighed the actual event. The one small step for man was not only a giant leap for mankind but also put the U.S. ahead in the space race.

2. The Miracle on Ice. Historically important? Certainly not when compared to the other items on the list; but without question for someone who appreciates the Olympic Games, this hockey game was a chance to appreciate amateurism triumphing over professionalism.

1. Election night 2000. A strange choice, you say. Probably so. But the utterly disastrous performance by the media ("Gore wins Florida," "Bush wins Florida") still demands the attention of the media and the public.

Honorable mention (and in no particular order):
-The assassination attempt on President Reagan
-The Opening Ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games
-The resignation of President Nixon
-New York City on Sept. 11, 2001
-The assassination of Martin Luther King, Junior
-The death of Princess Diana
-The massacre at the Munich Olympics

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