It's now 9/11 or 7/7 - people remember exactly where they were when they heard of the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York or on the Underground in London.
Before that, it was Lady Diana - people could tell you where they were when they heard that Lady Diana had died in Paris.
Before that again, and for a whole generation, it was JFK. "Do you remember where you were when you heard that JFK had been shot?"
Everyone did. And in answering that question, the person always gave you some detail - an extra richness of memory that opened up a world to you.
When someone told you where they were when they heard Kennedy had been shot, they opened a door to the Ireland of 1963 for you.
When you put your head through that door, you were in a different place, with different language.
Do you remember where you were..?
"I was in the 'scullery'"
"I was washing 'the Beetle'"
"Brendan Boyer was on - 'we cut a rug to him'."
The assassin's rifle was like a camera. It flashed and captured a moment in Irish time:
The smell of plainer food - no pasta or enchiladas.
The sight of different clothes - a woman in a housecoat or bib in the kitchen.
The different sound of music - showbands on the radio, in medium wave.
It was if, when he pulled the trigger, Kennedy's killer cut a slice of time and stored it in everyone's memory. Oswald froze a moment.
This documentary features Irish people speaking about that Friday, November 22, 1963 - just before the news came through from Dallas.
First broadcast: November 16th., 2013, RTE Radio 1, 2pm.
Narrators: Sarah Blake and Ronan Kelly.
Actors: Kevin Reynolds and Anne Roper.
Additional recording: Denise Woods.
Interviewees included: Tony Muggivan, Pauline Madden and Paddy Bugler
Archive material: Robert Canning and Jack Smith in RTE Radio Archives and John Lynch in RTE Cork.
Producers: Ronan Kelly and Liam O'Brien.
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