Where Were You Moments

Posted: August 1, 2011 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Charles Whitman fires from University of Texas Clock Tower, 1966

It was 45 years ago today when former U.S. Marine Charles Whitman went up to the Clock Tower at the University of Texas in Austin and killed a total of 16 people. The most tragic school shooting in American history. He had killed his mother and wife prior to his sniper rampage before he was shot and killed by local police.

This shooting would continue to have the highest death toll until the shooting in 2007 at the University at Virginia Tech. Not even the death toll at Columbine had more than the Clock Tower shootings. Yet it is a more recent event and on the minds of everyone who was alive when it happened.

This particular incident though, always comes to the minds of people whenever they hear about the subject. Three of them actually come to mind: Virginia Tech, Columbine High School, and UT Clock Tower.

It sure does seem like a long time, but people today were talking about it. It is not really making a lot of headlines today, but it is being talked about by word of mouth. Particularly those who are old enough to remember it. Or were told about it from prior generations who lived through it.

I found myself swimming in various conversations today with people who actually can remember it. A lot of tears and emotions coming from them as they wiped their eyes. Some of them still haunted by the memory of what Charles Whitman had done. Literally putting Austin, Texas back on the map and in the public eye for this horrible event.

I have yet to talk to someone who might have known Whitman personally. Those people may have passed by now. But all you have to do is mention his name or say the words “UT Clock Tower” and you’ll find yourself engaging in very powerful and emotional conversation with those who remember.

This event, along with the assassination of President John F. Kennedy has become the two most notorious “Where were you” moments in their lives. This question being asked time and time again.

But this new generation in which we live in, have our own “Where were you” moments. We are too young to remember Kennedy’s assassination. We are too young to remember the Moon Landing. But there are those other events that have happened (like Columbine and Virginia Tech) that have become our own moments.

It will only be six weeks from the posting of this blog where America will begin to remember the events of 9/11. It being the tenth anniversary. That too, is also stuck in our minds and is also moments that we remember what we were doing when we heard about it. I for one, will be sure to post a blog when that day comes and give my story of where I was when it happened.

Still some Americans, and especially Texans are looking back on this day as they do each and every year. Being in downtown Austin today is a complete mess. And I do not suspect that will change for many anniversaries to come.

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