A Quarter-Century Ago

I   was sitting in a school van, waiting to return to class after swimming lessons, when I heard the report on the radio.



It’s chilling to wonder what might have been had Reagan been killed. Just chilling.


  1. MO, I was walking in the door from school. I was in the 3d grade, I believe. Before the door closed behind me I saw the tv, and secret service jumping everywhere, people, shouting, confusion. Dunno now if that was live or replayed from earlier in the day -would’ve been around 3pm I guess- but that was the first I saw it.

  2. I was with Murdoc, and can verify that we were returning from the swimming pool to class when we got the news on the radio. I picture myself sitting in a station wagon and not a van, however. Though, we probably had to take a couple of vehicles for our class, so it is possible there was both a van and a wagon. Anyway, that probably was our first ‘remember-where-we-were-when-that-happened’ experience. I guess this was our second: http://www.murdoconline.net/archives/003391.html (Of course, I am referring to when national events occurred, not things like: when we learned the real meaning of our friend’s last name; when R.A. threatened Murdoc in class and Murdoc did a good job of not laughing in his face; when Murdoc got locked in a closet during a class field trip; etc.)

  3. Hmmm. Might have been a station wagon. I remember that I had gone out early and I think only one other guy was in the vehicle with me when we heard it. And ‘locked in a closet during a class field trip’? I’m pulling out the old ‘3D card’ on this one, folks: Deny, Deny, Deny. Unless/until someone can prove otherwise, that’s my play.

  4. I’d kinda forgotten that two of my three ‘I will always remember where I was when I heard’ moments were in the company (or at least proximity) of KB. I guess that 9/11 will make number four, but it hasn’t reached the ten-year minimum for this sort of thing… Anyway, the fact that KB and I were at the same place at the same time for two of them reminds me of the closing line to the film ‘Stand By Me’: ‘I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve. Jesus, does anybody?

  5. GL: That’s funny that you mention that. I remember very vividly that SS guy (or whoever it is…I bet we could find out if we really wanted) waving the Uzi around as they replayed the scene about ten thousand times that afternoon and evening. I couldn’t figure out why he didn’t just start shooting the place up…after all, that’s how they do it in the movies. There are many reasons why I am thankful that life isn’t like the movies…

  6. I seem to remember guys (maybe uniformed police) with shotguns in the pics of the immediate aftermath, as well. Stop it or I’m going to spend half the evening researching all this!

  7. Weinberger nearly gave us all a heart attack. Nothing ruins your day more then a base lockdown, live birds on the flight line, and a phone call telling you to pack up the family in case the order comes down for dependent evacuation.

  8. I’m quite certain it’s an Uzi. One of the many Ian Hogg-type books on military firearms that came out in the 80s used a different picture of the same agent with a caption to the effect of ‘…the Uzi was prominently visible in the moments following the attempt on Ronald Reagan’s life…’ Damned if I can remember which book it was, though. As for myself, I was still far from mastering the days of the week, let alone who the President was. My first big event was the Challenger went up.

  9. PS: I’m obviously a little older than some of you guys. I was leaving to catch a plane on a business trip when I heard the news on a radio. The first report made it sound like it wasn’t as bad as it was. I heard JFK had been shot right before going in to take a Spanish final at Ga Tech. We thought the professor would postpone the test. In typical Ma Tech fashion, he said ‘Heck no! Sit down and get started!’ As I recall, Bobby K was also shot with a .22, but at arm’s length range. Assassins like .22s before they don’t make much noise. ACE

  10. I’m generally a fan of Bush, but Reagan is truly our last great president. He was the man who gave us back pride in America. If he had died from that bullet, it is very likely that we would still be ashamed to be Americans, wallowing in self-loathing generated by the Carter malaise. Truly a great man. And none of us knew until he was President. I hope we get another like him soon.

  11. Timothy McCarthy standing with his arms spread absorbing bullets (without a vest) meant for the President may be the bravest thing I’ve ever seen.