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Monumental moments: Where were you when . . .?

Dr. David L. Chancey's picture

The 40th anniversary of Hank Aaron setting a new major league baseball home run record was yesterday. The Atlanta Braves are celebrating the milestone this season by wearing a special patch carrying “715,” Aaron’s autograph, and a “40th Anniversary” banner. They were scheduled to honor him last night in ceremonies at Turner Field.

I was a teenage Braves fan who listened to as many games as possible. I listened, because few Braves games were televised then. Ted Turner wouldn’t start broadcasting Braves games on his Superstation until 1977.

Every time Aaron came to the plate, I was excited. I remember his hitting 714 to tie Babe Ruth’s record in Cincinnati four days earlier, a three-run homer off of Jack Billingham. Braves fans selfishly wanted Hank to wait until the team returned home before he cracked 715.

He waited, and got his pitch against Al Downing and the Dodgers with a two-run blast in the bottom of the fourth at old Atlanta-Fulton Stadium. Milo Hamilton made the call; it should have been Ernie Johnson’s honor. April 8, 1974.

Where were you when Hershel ran over Bill Bates?

That was a big moment in University of Georgia football lore. The freshman from Wrightsville entered the game and electrified the team and Dog fans with his power running. He scored his first college football touchdown by flattening Tennessee defensive back Bill Bates at the five-yard-line.

I was sitting in my living room listening to the broadcast and hanging on Larry Munson’s every word: “My God, he’s a freshman!” Georgia won 16-15.

Where were you when President Kennedy was assassinated?

I was finishing a school day as a youngster and remember hearing the news when I got home. I remember seeing coverage on our black and white television over the next few days, and hearing grown-ups talking about it with a sadness and shock that covered our nation.

When John Hinckley shot President Reagan on March 30, 1981?

I was attending the annual meeting of Baptist Public Relations Society in Birmingham, heard the news and returned to my hotel room to watch coverage.

When the space shuttle Challenger exploded?

On January 28, 1986, I had just started my first pastorate the previous August, which brought us to Carmel, Indiana. I was in a Sunday School growth conference in Indianapolis when a state missionary stuck his head into the room and announced, “The space shuttle just exploded.”

We stopped, prayed and somehow finished the conference, but on a somber note.

When Sid Bream slid safely home?

Most were in bed, but I was determined to fight through sleepiness and stick with the Braves to the bitter end. The end of this playoff game was not bitter, however, for Atlanta fans. It was game seven of the 1992 National League Championship Series, and the Pirates were three outs away from winning and going to the World Series.

The Braves were fighting back, and the score was 2-1 with two out when Francisco Cabrera singled through the left side. David Justice scored easily to tie the game, and Sid lumbered around third and slid just under the tag to give the Braves a trip to the World Series.

When the World Trade Center towers were attacked?

On September 11, 2001, I was in my office, working on Sunday’s sermon, when a secretary called and told me a plane crashed into the World Trade Center. I immediately turned on WSB radio, and as the drama unfolded, it became obvious that America was under attack.

These momentous moments may or may not be defining moments that may or may not impact your life, but they impress themselves into your memory bank.

One such moment did impact the world and can impact your life if you’ll let it. Can you imagine the first Easter morning, the moment that stone rolled away from the tomb, and the moment the women approached and found the tomb open and empty? They heard, “He is not here; He is risen.” Death was conquered and eternal life was assured to all who receive the risen Savior.

Have you had that moment in which you received Christ and now know for certain that you are going to heaven?


[Dr. David L. Chancey is pastor, McDonough Road Baptist Church, Fayetteville, Ga. The church family gathers at 352 McDonough Road, just past the DDS building, and invites you to join them this Sunday for Bible study at 9:45 a.m. and worship at 10:55 a.m. Visit them on the web at and “like” them on Facebook.]

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