As virtually the entire non rock living population of the United States knows the last Harry Potter film opened this past weekend to packed theatres and rave reviews from audiences who grew up on the books and the movies. Some people have even gone so far as to consider it the end of their childhoods. One fan even declared it “Bigger than when the Beatles broke up Possible overstatements put aside, this led me to think about the political events that have shaped our world and perhaps signaled the end of our childhoods or at least altered the realities that we had always known.
For the American members of my audience that event could be September 11th 2001. I was a high school freshman in second period World History when we found out about the attacks on the World Trade Center, Pentagon, and the plane that was downed in Shanksville PA. That moment changed reality as we have never again been without the threat of terrorism and war. Terrorism became the in word and Al Qaeda and Bin Laden rolled off the tongue as though one was ordering at Subway. For previous American generations, maybe the moment was Vietnam or the Kennedy Assassination, Space Race, Civil Rights, MLK. For our grandparents or great grandparents World War II, Great Depression, WW1, Woman's Rights, Child Labor, or any number of other events.
For my non American readers, maybe its’ the fall of The Berlin Wall and the iconic Reagan phrasing “Mr. Gorbachev tear down this wall” that proceeded it. The wall had stood for over forty years separating families from each other and serving as a partition of communism from Western Europe. Then one day, you wake up and it’s not there. That must’ve had a major psychological impact. This gigantic symbol of the post World War II Cold War being chipped away at until eventually its’ on the ground in pieces, just a broken memory of what was. If your from Israel, maybe it's the outbreak or threat of war Of course, don’t allow me to put words in your mouths, leave me a comment and let me know about the political/historical event that dramatically shaped your life.