Where Were You When You Heard?

By Bob Hansen
|  Monday, May 2, 2011  |  Updated 5:22 PM PDT
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Flight 93 Widower on bin Laden's Death

Getty Images

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 02: A passerby takes pictures of newspaper headlines reporting the death of Osama Bin Laden, in front of the Newseum, on May 2, 2011 in Washington, DC. Last night U.S. President Barack Obama announced that the United States had killed the most-wanted terrorist Osama Bin Laden in an operation led by U.S. Special Forces in a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

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Alice Hoagland talks to Diane Dwyer about the death of Osama bin Laden. Hoagland's son, Mark Bingham, was on United flight 93 when it crashed in Pennsylvania on September 11, 2001.

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How did you hear about the death of Osama Bin Laden? News spread quickly across the country -- and across the Bay Area and the country -- via phones, computers and television sets. It seems to be one of those events that most people will never forget where they were when the news broke.

“We were on the plane and the stewardess announced it, but there had been a little bit of talk here and there, someone had gotten a text, someone else got a text, and so it was like a wave that came through the entire airplane,” an air traveler said in San Diego.

“Well, it interrupted a TV show I was watching last night with the announcement, and I said, ‘I better wake up -- am I hearing this? Is this correct?’ “ another person said. “And then the president came out and made the announcement. Oh, what a relief.”

“So as soon as she found out about it, I texted people," said another. "She found out on Facebook, I texted it, and then everybody else texted…. And then we turned on the news.”

“Twitter, it was all Twitter,” a tech-savvy person added.

“Actually, I was at the house, and my friend, he sent me a text message that said, 'Turn on the TV right now,' and I was like, ‘OK, what's going on?’ When I turned on the TV, bin Laden was killed, and I said, 'That was a big relief,' ” one person remembered.

“My husband finally got in touch with me on the phone when I was driving home, and he said, ‘You're not going to believe what happened,’ and I immediately said, ‘Well, everybody is alive?' He goes: ‘Osama bin Laden isn't,’ “ a woman recalled.

The news of bin Laden's death traveled quickly on social media. When I got an e-mail from the station, I immediately texted my children. Some went to their Facebook page, some tweeted, and then everyone went to their TV set. News sometimes starts on the smaller screen these days, then moves to the big screen.


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