What historical event do you wish you had been alive for?

Back in 1969 there was the expectation that we would continue our space exploration after we landed on the Moon. Of course, that never really happened, for a variety of reasons. It’s been our crowning achievement as a people, the placing of men on another celestial body. I frequently find myself wondering if I will be alive to see us go back, or to go on to explore other planets.

I wish I had been alive to see it happen. Alas, the last landing was in 1972, and I was born in 1976. What event do you look back at and say to yourself “Boy, I wish I had been there to see it”?

Oh, I was alive then. I would just go back as a ghost, wake my seven-year-old self and everyone else and get everybody outside and looking up.The appearance on November 17, 1966, provided the highest known rate of any meteor stream ever recorded. An approximate rate of 40 meteors per second (144,000 m/hour), was seen for about 1 hour as viewed from the western portion of North America, and the Pacific. http://www.amsmeteors.org/meteor-showers/meteor-faq/#9

All the way back to Adam and Eve - or the life of Jesus. Are we allowed to intervene, or only witness history?

Pompeii in 79. i might make a lasting impression.

I’m old enough to remember when Yuri Gagarin made the first manned space flight, so I don’t need to wish I’d been around for all that.

The historical event I’m most thankful I did live to see, growing up in the shadow of the Cold War and Mutual Assured Destruction, was the fall of 1989, when the Berlin Wall fell and the entire Warsaw Pact, other than the USSR itself, threw off their Communist regimes.

As far as history from before my time goes, I like living in a world with home refrigeration, antibiotics, vaccines, and the like. So I’d want to be around for any earlier historical event if I could be there for a brief visit, and then come back to the present.

But if I could, I’d like to go back to view the execution of a certain Jewish carpenter-turned-preacher named Yeshua, and hang around for a few days to see what happened next.

It would have been cool to have heard the eruption of Krakatoa.

The earliest historical event I can personally remember was World War Two and the effect it had on life in the USA. There were blackouts, and my dad took me to an upstairs window to look outside and see how dark it was. Our car sat in the driveway for a year, because there was no gas.

I love having been front row at the birth of the information age and the Internet. It will be a tale to tell my grandkids.

It utterly blows my mind that there were people who were alive during both the Wright Brothers first flight in 1903 and the moon landing in 1969. I’m not sure I’d trade that for the information age / Internet, but damn.

Death of Lincoln probably. Something in me has always wondered if it was as big a deal to the average person as history makes it out to be. And also if he was really as popular before he was shot as he was after.

(Let’s face it — JFK had a LOT of detractors until Lee Harvey ended his life and Vaughn Meaders career. )

I’d want to be at Jesus’s tomb three days after the crucifixion so that I could confirm what happened. Then I could write the Book of Amigo.

“I feel like I’m one of the luckiest people in the entire world…for having been born in the year that I was, to be able to fight for my country in World War II; this whole era…is something I feel privileged for having gone through.” - C. King, USS Hornet.

Needless to say, I’d want to see what the Second World War was like from as many perspectives as possible. The experience plunged some into depravity, some became heroes, others just muddled along…I wonder what I’d be like confronted with it eye to eye.

One of them was my great-aunt, born in 1893, who lived to 100 and was sharp mentally well into her 90s. So she was old enough to know what was going on when cars replaced horse-drawn carriages, when the news of the first plane flight broke (true or hoax?), and not only was around for the moon landing, but almost made it to the dawn of the Internet.

She was a cool old lady. She’s been gone for two decades, but I still miss her.

I doubt if the Wright Brothers flight got the kind of media coverage that would place it in the living memory of anyone still alive in 1969. “Being alive” for an historical event is not the same as knowing that it happened and having a sense of its lmport or having your life impacted by it in any meaningful way.

By the way, on the teleacst last night, it was mentioned that that was, I think, game number 1,530 in the history of Major League baseball post-season play. It struck me that 85% of those games have been played in my living memory (and avidly absorbed). About the same 85% have been nationally televised.

That was my grandfather. He was born in 1900, so the Wrights probably didn’t affect him, but as a fourteen year old I watched, along with him, the moon landing. We both were glued to the television.

Oh, I was around on December 1, 1955, when Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat to the white guy, but I was too young and living in California. I wish I had been old enough to appreciate what she did and had been on the bus to see it all.

The signing of the final and enduring treaty that established peace throughout the Middle East – but, alas, that occurred more than a century after my death.


A few days ago I dropped by to see my Grandma (91 I think)) and we discussed the changes in technology she’s witnessed for nearly an hour prompted by a car commercial and a picture of her, my great uncle, and a horse. They were preparing to ride to school and it was a first day of school picture.

On topic, probably the first Superbowl.

I was alive, but still in diapers, so I’d pick August 5, 1962, LA, with a stop at a hardware store for a crowbar.

I was born halfway through the six Apollo landings – so I was only two during the last one. I would love to have been born just three years earlier, so as to have been “sentient” (five years old, more or less) for at least one of the landings – and it would have been even BETTER to have been born six years earlier, and be sentient for Apollo 11 (the first moon landing).

But then I’d have been six years older during the late-1990s analog-to-digital-and-internet global transition, and that might have made the difference in my ability to perfectly adapt to this new world of ours.

Help us numbskulls out. RFK was '68…wasn’t Malcolm X killed in New York?..hmmm…???