"Where were you when you heard about it?" To me this question often refers to the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. I can remember when, and where I was when it happened. It shaped the world I live in. To my grandmother’s generation, however, it referred to a completely different event.

"Where were you when you heard about it?" To me this question often refers to the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. I can remember when, and where I was when it happened. It shaped the world I live in. To my grandmother’s generation, however, it referred to a completely different event.


As a child, my grandmother told me about the day when she heard that an American president had been shot and killed in Dallas.


In the 1960s, my paternal family was living in (or born in, in the case of my father) the American sector of Berlin. My grandfather, who was enlisted in the United States Air Force, was stationed there.


It was on the cold night of Nov. 22, 1963 that she remembered her neighbor frantically knocking on the door to tell told her something important was on television.


The small black-and-white television was how she first learned that President John F. Kennedy had been shot. Before long, the news announced his death.


She was in disbelief. It felt like just yesterday that she had seen Kennedy give the now famous speech where, in the wake of the Berlin Wall construction, he proudly showed support for Berlin by proclaiming "Ich bin ein Berliner," or "I am a Berliner."


To her generation, this was the event that shaped the world she lived in. Where was I? I wouldn’t be around for another 20 years. Yet, the 50-year anniversary of Kennedy’s assassination bears importance to this generation. It shaped the world as much as anything I’ve experienced in my lifetime.


MICHAEL HUTCHINS is a reporter at the Herald Democrat. Email him at mchutchins@heralddemocrat. com.