What's the first major news event that you remember hearing about as a child? Where did you learn about it? How did it impact your world view?
I like this question because it made me think a lot about memory and how it works. The minute I read the question my mind jumped to the Challenger Explosion in 1986. I was all set to answer it when I felt that wasn't quite right. For one thing, I was three when it happened. Now, my parents taped the footage from that day when we lived in Burlington VT. (Nikerym was almost a year old at this time.) (Yes, I lived in Vermont as a small child.) (Yes, I am aware that this may explain a few things about me.) Anyway, they taped it and bought the paper from the next day with the articles and preserved it.
A few years later, when we'd settled in Gouverneur NY, I remember finding the newspaper in the downstairs closet and carefully reading the articles and asking my parents about it. I think we watched the footage then (RIP, Peter Jennings -- they don't make newsmen like you any more, sir). Since my family's got a devoted interest in sci-fi and space things, it didn't surprise me.
When I was in the 4th grade, we were given an assignment to write a short little essay on something that someone in our family lived through -- a major event in history. Alas, I didn't really have anything like that, my mom tried to come up with some ideas for me from her side of the family but all we had was the parts for the radiator that my great-grandfather invented, and that my grandfather served during WWII, but none of that really fulfilled the assignment.
She suggested the Berlin Wall falling, but I wasn't really keen on that, and then she remembered the Challenger disaster. I want to say she said we watched it together when it happened but I really don't remember too well -- I was nine or so when this conversation took place. So I went in depth on the Challenger explosion in my paper.
As you can see, the Challenger sticks in my brain because of that, but I don't think it was the first thing I heard about as a child. I tried to think of other things but none of them made that big an impression on me.
Also, I got one of those formspring things. Feel free to question me there.