April 19, 1995... The bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. After I finished my chores that morning, I called my mother just to check in, and she asked if I'd heard about it - she didn't realize that was the building my wife's sister worked in, and where her 18 month old son was in day care. I can say without a doubt that was the most shocking news ever for me. ;I went directly to my in-laws house, where it was an eternity 'til about 2 pm when we found out for sure my sister-in-law was ok. It was an even longer eternity (4 days) 'til we found out for sure that my nephew had been killed.
I was 20 miles away at my house, getting ready to meet a man about buying a truck. I was in the kitchen on the phone, when the windows shook. I didn't know what really happened til after I went and met my appointment. And then the horrible thought hits me: I would have been three blocks from the bomb site if I hadn't been buying the truck! Not only that, but one of my co-workers had gone in my place to cover my assignment downtown. I found out within a couple of hours that he was not injured, but had been in the thick of the aftermath. I told him "I'm glad you're alright, because you're wife would have killed me if you got hurt!" (And that is no exaggeration!)
When I got home that afternoon, and saw my little baby boy, I cried so hard for those injured and dead children from the day care that was in the building.
9/11 brought back a lot of those feelings.
I'm sure Cowboy can attest to the cheapening of the impact of this event when all the local TV stations in town kept trying to make this disaster "their own", trying to prove how much more caring they were about the victims and families. Co-opting misery for ratings is ugly to watch. Especially KFOR, who made certain by their coverage, interference with police procedure, and out-right speculative "journalism" pretty much guaranteed that the trial of Tim McVeigh was moved out of state.
Anyway, that day makes the top five.
Number two shock was when my son was in a horrible auto accident due to my negligence.
Number one shock was when I discovered that he had survived it....