Take A Mulligan

The Day the Music Died

Easy trivia question here, but do you remember Don McLean’s record-breaking song, American Pie? The Day The Music Died! This iconic song culminated what perhaps was the essence of the ’60’s. So much happened in that decade and those of us who lived them, did so knowing that it was probably a defining time in our country’s history. There are two times in my life, (yours too, I’m sure), that the music died.

The first was when I was in the 8th grade at St. Joseph’s School in Chelsea. One simple classroom and sixth, seventh and eighth combined in that one room. And one teacher! We must have been well-behaved.

At about 1:00 PM, one of the mothers knocked on the classroom door and a whispered conversation went on between her and our teacher. We all could tell something bad had happened. This mother took her kids and left and we all were told the news on that day, November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy had been shot in Dallas, Texas. We were immediately told to either put our head on our desk or kneel beside our desks and pray for the President’s safety.

At age 14, we all were very aware of the Cold War between Russia and the United States and we assumed that war would be breaking out soon. After all, it was just one year earlier that President Kennedy and Soviet Premier Khrushchev stood toe-to-toe during the Cuban missile Crisis. It began on October 16 and Russia did not send missiles into Cuba on November 20, 1962. Almost to the day, one year later, Kennedy was shot and killed. Conspiracy theory. Nah!

The second time the music died in my life, (and again, yours), was on September 11, 2001, when the United States was attacked by our very own airplanes. Four airplanes carrying 19 terrorists took off to destroy our way of life in the United States. One plane, in full view of New Yorkers, flew into one of the Twin Towers at 8:46 am and seventeen minutes later, at 9:03 am, the second of the two Twin Towers was crashed into. America was now at war, the war on terror.

We all remember the fear, confusion and chaos that ensued, but it wasn’t over yet. Another plane a little while later flew directly into the Pentagon and a fourth, headed straight toward Washington, D.C. was averted by passengers and crashed into an open field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. We would never be the same.

In about a week, the 20th anniversary of this horrible attack on September 11 will be here. We must never forget. But at the same time, we must remember that we as Americans, regardless of race, creed or color, are Americans and we must stand united. Let’s always look out for one another, believe in one another, respect one another and put aside all the division that seems to be the standard today. We should never be a “us vs. them” society. Like so many signs I see today, “We’re all in this together.”

So where were you that fateful day in 1963 and that fateful day in 2001? Love to hear from you at jsheda@indytel.com or call me at 319-327-4640 God Bless the USA.

John Sheda is a pastor for the Living Water Church in Independence. He is a native of Chelsea, Iowa and a South Tama County alumni (Class of 1969).