When Mt. St. Helens blew (18/5/1980)
Not yet conceived.
When the space shuttle Challenger exploded (28/1/1986)
I was almost 5, and don't really remember much about this, other than watching my dad look sad as he watched the news.
When the 7.1 earthquake hit San Francisco (7/10/1989)
8 years old, that would be Albuquerque. I remember seeing a few things on the news, but it seemed horribly distant from anything 'real' in my mind.
When the Berlin Wall fell (7/11/1989)
Still Albuquerque. I remember watching that for a long time on the news with my dad, and having him try to explain to me why this was such a good thing. I don't remember how he explained it, but I think I got the gist.
When the Gulf War began (16/1/1991)
Still Albuquerque, almost 10. Scared to death Dad would have to go overseas - he'd been in Saudi Arabia maybe the year before, and we didn't know for awhile if he was going to have to go or not. Fortunately, the fact that he'd had a heart attack a year and a half before made him ineligible to serve there, and he stayed stateside.
When OJ Simpson was chased in his White Bronco (17/6/1994)
Rota, Spain, age 13. Really didn't give a damn.
When the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City was bombed (19/4/1995)
Driving in a car in Spain with my mom and dad, age 14. Heard it on AFRTS, and Daddy had to pull the car over, he was so upset. I'd never seen him that upset before, and that's when I knew something really, really bad had happened.
When Princess Di was killed (31/8/1997)
Maryland, age 16. Reeeeeally didn't give a damn.
When the shooting at Columbine occurred (20/04/1999)
Maryland, age 18. Senior year of high school. I remember security being über-strict at our school after that, and there being a threat that a school in our county would be hit in such a way as to "make Columbine look like a party." That day was set to be the day of the AP English test, and all of us set to take the test came to school anyway, because we'd paid too much money for us to NOT take it. But it wasn't without a whole heap-load of fear. Police at the school all day. Nothing happened, but better safe than sorry.
When Bush was first announced President (7/11/2000)
Watching TV somewhere on campus (beginning of my sophomore year at Reed), seeing the polls and such. I remember coming back to my dorm room and seeing a bunch of folks out in the hallway, looking like they were in mourning, and the elation coming from one guy's face when he came out and announced that they'd taken Florida off the map, and that the election hadn't been declared yet. Sooooo much screaming.
When terrorists destroyed the World Trade Center (11/9/2001)
My first full day of classes in London. Was walking down the street in Camden Town on a break between classes, when a girl I barely recognized from my school told me that a plane had hit the WTC. I was right next to a webcafe, so I ducked in to find out what had happened. I remember that I posted something brief and angry in my LJ right then, and that that was how Bret found out what had happened, since he checked his friends' list in the morning and given the time zone difference...yeah. Since most of the folks in the program in London with me either lived in or went to school in New York, there was much concern about family members and such. I was mostly worried about my brother, a paramedic in Baltimore, who did end up being involved in patient transport to and from Walter Reed to accomodate the victims of the Pentagon crash.
When Columbia disintegrated during re-entry over Texas. (1/2/2003)
Senior year at Reed. For some reason, I'd stopped by Debbie's room to say hi, and she had her television on. She told me what had happened, and I just stopped dead in my tracks. It didn't seem real for a good long while. I remember hearing her complain about how the major news networks didn't seem to be reporting much about it at all, and if I hadn't stopped by her room, I probably wouldn't have known about it at all.