May 3rd, 2011
A Night to Remember: Where Were You?
It was some time after the last game of basketball and the horseshoes had been long dormant. My group of friends was preparing to say our goodbyes on Sunday night when the news that we never expected to come: Osama bin Laden was dead. In a Pakistani mansion. By the hands of the US of A. With proof.
After a wedding in Baton Rouge, I had reached my ceiling of Cajun food and Abita and set out to find some good ol’ Texas grub and drink. Attempts to find any number of food trucks still open at 8:00PM failed miserably (Hubcap, Good Dog, Zilla and Bernie’s had all finished up operations much earlier).
West Alabama Ice House was our final choice for food. Tacos Tierra Caliente was calling. Shiner Ruby Redbird was doing the same. My girlfriend and I sat down amongst the set of content Sunday drinkers to enjoy winding down and sharing stories from the wedding the previous night. Four friends, two of them the newlywed couple, met us as we finished our first round of delicious tacos. I got up for a second helping (and then a third) before a the crackling PA system was fired up and an abrupt voice went live.
“Osama is dead. U-S-A!”
That was it.
None of us really understood what the voice had said, nor did we even know what it meant. “He couldn’t have said what we thought he said… right?” We all grabbed our phones and fired up the various apps and internet and other virtual links to the real world that make us feel in-the-know. Confirmation came by text, by NYT News Alert emails, by the occasional cheers at the bar by people watching programming interrupted by press coverage.
So, I sat there, nearly ten years removed from 9/11/01 when I had walked into the living room of my college apartment while brushing my teeth and turned on the news that I never thought I would see. I sat there at West Alabama Ice House, a place that I wasn’t old enough to go to back then, with friends that I’ve only known for a year. I sat there and thought about how much the world had changed, but how much it had stayed the same. And I thought about how I would never forget how I heard the news or where I was when I found out Osama bin Laden was dead.
Where were you?