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Staff Sound-Off: Iconic American Moments

We asked our staff “Have you ever visited a place that was the site of an iconic American moment? How did it impact you?” Check out our memories of American moments in this month’s Staff Sound-Off.

I originally wrote about visiting the Oklahoma City National Memorial, which had a profound effect on me, but learned that Donia was living in Oklahoma City at the time, so I deferred to her account of that tragic moment in our country’s history. Instead, in a total pivot, I’ll say that I was working here in Lexington with NTA and Jim Host in 1985 and was lucky enough to be given a front row ticket for the NCAA Championship game between Georgetown and Villanova. I sat directly behind Villanova’s cheerleaders. It remains one of the most celebrated upsets in NCAA basketball history, as Villanova shocked Patrick Ewing and his defending champions. In the world of college athletics, which Jim helped to create, this was and remains an iconic moment.

— Mac Lacy, publisher

We visited the Kentucky Military History Museum in Frankfort, Kentucky, a few years ago. I remember looking out the secret windows thinking there were soldiers in this spot a long time ago. The museum is perched overlooking the city, which is why they built the arsenal there, so the view protecting it is amazing. The museum is really cool, too.

— Sarah Sechrist, controller

I went to Gettysburg in eighth grade on a field trip, and seeing the battlegrounds and knowing the history really opened my eyes. It was eerie to stand on the same grounds where one of the most important battles in American history took place.

— Kyle Anderson, director of advertising sales

Living in Maynard, Massachusetts, when I was little, I was never far from history, particularly early American history. My town was next to Acton, a few minutes from Concord and a short ride on the T into Boston. Even as a child I was fascinated by history and all the stories of Pilgrims, Native Americans, revolutionaries and authors of New England. I think it was much easier to see how history is connected to the events we’re surrounded by today and how it ultimately influenced my love of history and cultures from around the world.

— Ashley Ricks, graphic design & circulation

The site that impacted me the most was my visit to the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum in 2000, five years after the fateful Murrah Bombing. On April 19, 1995, I emerged from one of my college classes to hear the devastating news about the Murrah bombing. The sight of the smoke rising, just a few miles from Oklahoma Christian University where I studied, is something I will never forget. The loss of life had a profound impact on me and still does to this day. Several years later, I worked with a gentleman who survived the blast in the elevator he had just stepped into. He carried in his wallet a time-stamped paper from his business in the Murrah building that day, a reminder that life is precious.

— Donia Simmons, creative director