I spent the last week in New York City, primarily because my younger son is considering attending college there, but also to enjoy a vacation with my wife and him.
On a daily basis, I was at or around the area known as Ground Zero, where the two World Trade Center towers fell in an act of terrorism almost 20 years ago. The memories of that day got me to thinking: What are the five worst events that have happened in the U.S. in my lifetime?
Here’s my list (keeping in mind I was born in November 1967), and these are events that occurred on American soil. As a result, international events — such as the Vietnam or the Iraq wars — were not considered.
5. 1974: President Nixon resigns in disgrace: He was cruising to reelection in 1972, but that wasn’t good enough for him. And that led to a break in, a cover up, a public spectacle and a resignation.
4. 1986: The Space Shuttle Challenger explosion: Americans undoubtedly were naive in believing that each time a shuttle took off that it would safely return to Earth. On one cold January morning, we learned just the opposite. President Reagan delivered a roughly 4-minute address to the nation that became a signature moment of his time in the White House.
3. 1968: The assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr: We will never know how much more progress in civil rights Dr. King would have been responsible for had he lived. I was humbled to have had a chance to visit the memorial to him a couple months ago.
2. 2020-2021: The coronavirus pandemic: Maybe, just maybe, a legitimate response from the man who occupied the White House in the initial months of the crisis would have meant fewer Americans dying and a reduced economic impact. It’s his legacy.
1. 2001: 9/11: The world that the U.S. dominated — however imperfectly — alone for a decade came to an end on that day. May we always honor of the men and women, including the unborn children, who died on that day.