There are many important dates in our history but depending on your age and generation four stand out because they start with, “where were you when you heard?”  Today is one of those four.

Toms River's 9/11 ceremony (Jason Allentoff, Townsquare Media NJ)


Flowers and pictures left along the North Pool at the 9/11 Memorial (Justin Lane-Pool/Getty Images)

It is hard to believe that it was 12 years ago today on what was a glorious September morning that planes crashed into the World Trade Center in New York City as part of an unprecedented terrorist attack.  No need to say much more except that it is still eerie to look at the city skyline without those twin towers although the 104-story 1 World Trade Center or Freedom Tower has filled some of that void.

For the current generation 9/11 remains the defining “where were you when” moment and for as long as we live on this date we will be reminded of horror, tragedy, heroism and the innocent lives lost.

As to the other three dates that come to mind, well again it depends on your age.

Certainly for our “greatest generation” it is December 7, 1941 when Japan attacked the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor which led to our direct involvement in World War II.  Of course news came via radio and newspaper so it was not nearly as visible as 9/11 when we watched those towers fall.

Then of course you have November 22, 1963 which many have described as the end of innocence because that’s the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.  We are coming up on the 50th anniversary of that which is hard to imagine and many still wonder how different history would have been if JFK had not been killed.

Apollo 11 astronaut Edwin 'Buzz' Aldrin deploys a scientific experiment package on the surface of the moon. (Neil Armstrong/NASA/Getty Images)

The fourth date on my list is one that most probably don’t pay attention to because the date is not as significant as others but the event was huge and it was a joyful one.  On July 20, 1969 it was not death and destruction but achievement and celebration when Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong stepped foot on the surface of the moon and uttered those famous words, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”  Most never believed it would happen and called the moon landing a minor miracle. Less than three months there was even a bigger one.  The Mets won the World Series!