March 30, 1981 – Where were you when you got the news?

Today, March 30, 2011 marks the 30th Anniversary of the Day President Ronald Reagan was shot outside the Washington Hilton Hotel.

Because I'm old enough I remember not only that, but also the day that John F. Kennedy was assasinated.  The question as I was growing up was “Do you remember where you were when JKF was shot?”  Obviously for many that's a more vivid memory because of the tragic outcome of that shooting.

But Reagan survived, and even joked about it on the way to and at the hospital, telling Nancy “I forgot to duck,” and looking at the surgeons saying “I hope you're all Republicans.”

I was working my first “real” job out of college at the time. I was a lab assistant for a consulting engineering firm in Blacksburg.  It had nothing to do with anything I was trained for.  But, it was

work.

I remember the hopeless feeling there as we didn't have access to a television, much less the 24 hour news cycle of the Internet and Twitter and more.  And most of us still had to walk across the room to change the television channel.

But the feeling was horrible as we reflected back on the victory of the fall election and how, after four abysmal years with Jimmy Carter in the White House we finally felt that indeed there was hope in America again.

Many have told the story.  Many continue to tell the story.  A new book out features the perspective of one of the Secret Service agents and we recently heard a previously undisclosed tape of the communications with the White House.

A scary time.

But Reagan was strong and was soon back to work.

I don't know how deranged you have to be to want to kill a national leader.  And yes, I remember the John Hinckley/Jodie Foster jokes.  But I just don't understand the mindset.

Thankfully Reagan survived.  It's hard to believe that it's been thirty years.

I remember it as if it were yesterday.

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