People Share The One Moment They Realized They Were Witnessing A Big Historical moment.


From the space shuttle Challenger disaster, to Tiananmen Square protest of 1989, 24 people share the one historical moment they witnessed.

[Source can be found at the end of the article]

1. When Princess Diana died.

I was 8 years old, my parents and I were finishing up visiting their friends, when my mom turned on the radio, and she started to cry, realizing some "Diana girl got in a car accident."

A week later I was upset that I couldn't watch my Saturday morning cartoon because my mom was watching the funereal procession.

I realize later how much of an impact Princess Diana's death had on everyone.


2. The 2011 Tsunami in Japan. At some point, they were just running live video with no commentary. It was horrifying. Watching people scramble for their lives; everything just washing away in a slow, grey, unstoppable wall of water.


3. My Dad just bought a new TV, plugged it in to see if it works.

The moment it's on, the second plane hits World Trade Center.


4. The OJ chase. He was such a beloved figure, always smiling, down-to-earth sports commentator, movie star... next thing you know, he's fleeing down the highway in his white SUV with police in pursuit. So surreal.


5. Radio news: Stalin's death. TV stuff: first TV availability in my hometown over cable laid in street, then first color TV broadcast in that area; regular atomic testing in Nevada (I was in Reno); Cuban missile crisis (every bit as scary as history chronicles show); Kennedy assassination, I witnessed tv coverage of Oswald/Ruby shooting, also saw JFK shot; civil rights struggles; all the space stuff, esp. Moon landings and Apollo 13; Vietnam war coverage; Kent State crisis; basically all the contemporary history you guys think happened 100 years ago.

Old people aren't as boring and limited as you may think. We are the beatniks and hippies of days of yore.


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6. The Frontier Middle School shooting on February 2, 1996. It happened in my hometown it was the first mass media coverage of a school shooting at the time. Watching the T.V. that night every news channel was reporting it, Local, Regional, and National News. About 6:30pm I learned my best friend had died from being shot, while watching the 6 o'clock news.


7. I was touring the CNN building in Atlanta when Nelson Mandela died. Literally right when the story broke.

The creepy part was that they already had a ton of pre-recorded stuff ready to go. They had pre-made scripts for the anchors. It wasn't chaos, it was like they had a pre-made list of stuff to say and do.

That's someone's job. Speculating who will die next and creating pre-death obituaries. Maybe these already exist for all the most famous people and it's someone's job to keep them updated. When a news story can go global in a matter of hours, you can't afford to wait for things to happen before you cover them. Someone else will have better, juicier information than you and they'll get all that sweet, sweet ad revenue unless you beat them to the punch.


8. Going to lunch in high school, looking up, and seeing the solid rocket boosters from the Challenger spiraling down out of an atypical cloud puff in the smoke trail from launch. I thought, "THAT doesn't look right"


9. June 15, 2011. The day that I watched the Vancouver Canucks get so close to the Stanley Cup win, only to watch them lose and our city burn


10. 35W bridge collapse in MN. I was out in public when it happened, and remember seeing the news all of a sudden cut to the story. Then seeing more and more people around me turn and watch the news.

It was that moment when you knew who had family members making their commutes home on 35W, and especially the family who didn't pick up their phones. I'll never forget seeing how quickly people went from their normal 'just another day' attitudes, to sadness and fear.


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11. Anti-Ceauescu protestors on TV holding up the 'flag with a hole' that lead to the Romanian Revolution of 1989.

The break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991, ending the Cold War.


12. The november 2015 Paris attacks I guess.

My roommate was in a cafe right next to the one they attacked. I took a Uber when he called me, and went to pick him up. Cops where everywhere, chaos and panic in the streets.

Luckily we acted quick enough ; they locked the area just when we found him. His parents were furious, since we couldn't know if the attacks had stopped.

Then we turned on the TV and we realized what was happening.


13. The tsunami in Sendai, Japan.

I remember a classmate had just done his presentation about Viking mythology and we started watching this boring educational news program. Normally it would be just a recap of the week and some cringeworthy cool guy giving advice.

This time however, the presenter was quite shocked and confused and we saw the same footage over and over again. It was my first experience with breaking news.


14. I watched the Challenger space shuttle explode live on TV in the classroom.

I was a paper boy in middle school when the 1st Gulf war started and the headline was gigantic.

I was late to work the morning of 911, told my boss what I had heard on the radio driving in. He looked at me like I was crazy and told me to get to work or I'd be fired. He lost that tone rather quickly after the news hit him a short time later.

Saddam Hussein being hung live on the internet.

Barack Obama's 1st inauguration.

Trump riding a wave of white anger to take over America.


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15. Covering 9/11 as a reporter. there was a moment that morning when Giuliani was nowhere to be found and a bunch of reporters were gathered around a fireman at ground zero. He couldn't tell us much so at some point someone asked him who was in charge. "No-one's in charge," he said. "They're all dead.


16. Probably the terrorist attack on Utya on July 22nd 2011 when I heard about it on the news. First I heard was my parents talking about the bomb in Oslo but later that day we listened to the news in the car and they started talking about Utya. I remember my parents' reactions and how they kept repeating how awful it was that up to a hundred people (so many of them kids) were dead. (though iirc the final total death count of both attacks was closer to 75.)

It was surreal, I'm Swedish and I know it is stupid but I guess I didn't think those kinds of things would ever happen in Scandinavia. It felt so close and the kids that died were only a few years older than I was.

I remember thinking that those attacks would change a lot of things.


17. The night they caught the Boston bomber. We were near a bunch of hospitals where a blockade had been stationed during the city-wide lock down. As it broke up, we flooded the sidewalks shook the hands of the emergency responders.


18. I was in Hong Kong during the "Umbrella Movement".

Casually went working my shift at a bar somewhere in SoHo. When I went out of there after a few hours, a lot of cops in riot gear everywhere, roadblocks on Queen's Road (imagine the 5th Av. in NYC completely blocked, people sitting on the ground) and other main streets, people marching and signing altogether. God that was intense.

And most impressive of all, despite all the people on both sides (police and demonstrators), not a single window, car, shop or public installation was damaged. After each sitting session, some of the protesters would stay and clean after people. Cleanest, most responsible demonstration I've ever seen.


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19. January 17,1991. Watching aircraft launch from the deck of the USS Saratoga with full bomb racks. Then seeing them land a couple hours later with empty bomb racks. But, not all of them came back. A few days later, a cruiser was steaming off our port side. We all went up to the flight deck and watched them launch one Tomahawk missle after another. When the first one launched, our skipper got on the 5MC and said, "That one is headed for downtown Baghdad.


20. Watching Jack Ruby shoot Lee Harvey Oswald on live TV with my dad. We saw it and both jumped to our feet saying, "Did you see that?!!?


21. This isn't world history, more local, but I was around when a young man gunned down three local police officers and disappeared for almost 2 days before he surrendered. It was in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada. This 20-something dude lured cops to a suburb-like area and shot them down as they arrived. He vanished into the treeline and the entire city was shut down. People stayed in their homes, sometimes they saw glimpses of him and filmed him. It wasn't scary for most people, just odd. New Brunswick is the last place you'd expect this sort of brutal violence, especially against police, who are respected. To sit indoors while helicopters buzzed overhead, seeing your city online and on Reddit's live feed...absolutely stunning in a bad way. It was frustrating too. People lined up along the edges of the police cordon to try and get a glimpse of the 'action'. They could've been struck by rogue bullets and they didn't even think of it.


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22. Tiananmen Square. I was in college and had to find summer rooming. There was a room in the grad students' apartment available, and I found myself living with 5 Chinese grad students. We kept fairly friendly, but their English was fair, and my Mandarin is non-existent. As events unfolded in Beijing, no attention was spent on studying. Four televisions were on constantly with the various networks, and anticipation was growing that the student protests in Beijing could be successful. If the Berlin Wall could fall, and Ceauescu could be overthrown, then the same could happen in China. There were rumors of divisions among various governors/generals in China, and that some wouldn't follow the orders of the government. How could the army attack peaceful protesters

Then the Peoples Liberation struck back. It was disheartening to see the dismay in the eyes of these roommates of mine. And within a few days they stopped talking about it (perhaps not knowing if one of their fellow roommates was working as an informant.


23. August 9, 1995

That date probably doesn't mean much to most people, but it should. That's the unofficial "Big Bang" of the Internet. The birth date of the viable, commercial medium we know today. On that day, 22 years ago, Netscape had their IPO.

Before that moment, the world at large didn't view the Internet as a world-changing medium. It was considered a novelty by most. Pre-1995, the Internet was largely non-profit and the realm of academics and early enthusiasts. Commercial applications, in particular e-commerce, were still the stuff of dreams and discussed with a healthy dose of skepticism.

Then Netscape IPO'd and shattered Wall Street expectations, setting the stage for dozens of high-flying tech IPOs throughout the late nineties. In August of 1995, there were only around 12 million internet users. Today, there are 3.6 billion. Even now, when you look up Internet statistics, so many of them begin at the summer of 1995. That was when the world at large took notice.


24. I saw Derek Jeter's last game at Yankee Stadium and it was the most incredible thing I've ever seen with my own two eyes.

He got his big hit in the first inning and the crowd was satisfied with JUST THAT. But also, we were winning! Come the 9th inning.... David Robertson blows the lead. The sold out crowd went from utter despair..... to realizing, a perfect storm could very well be brewing... Jeter would be hitting.

Sure enough, after a couple of batters, the stage was set. All he needed was a hit and the Yankees would win the game.

Jeter comes up to the plate and the entire place goes absolutely crazy. Our hero of 20 years in his last ever game at home has a chance to make history again.

I will never forget how quickly the deafening cheers went to complete silence during the pitch. I swear to god you could hear a pin drop in that massive stadium for that single second.

Then Jeter swings, the ball gets through, the winning run scores, and the crowd ERUPTED IN AN ABSOLUTE FRENZY.

The city had a buzz that night. It was so emotional, rewarding, sad, and bitter sweet, and utterly glorious, all at once.



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