Each generation has its pivotal moment. Or moments. Clearly I remember sitting in Mrs. Pritchard’s fourth grade classroom, head down on my arms on top of the desk, as we had been instructed to do, while she walked up and down the rows of students, passing out tissues.

The radio was being broadcast directly through the school’s intercom system. The male announcer said something in a deep, husky voice about a motorcade in Dallas and the president being shot, but the words were just disconnected words to a nine-year-old. Why was my teacher weeping?

School was dismissed early; the country was in mourning. My parents picked me up from school in an unfamiliar car. I was very happy and excited as I climbed into our new aqua Ford station wagon for the short trip home. Like I said, I was nine.

I was 14 when Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon, 20 when Nixon resigned, 26 when John Lennon was shot, and 47 when the World Trade Center was destroyed. In my now 55 years, other major events have certainly had an emotional impact on my life, but today as I sit and contemplate the state of the world, this is the one that really rocked me.

And I will never forget where I was, who I was with, what I was doing, or how I felt on the morning of September 11, 2001. Please join me today in a prayer for peace.