3. There was a suicide bombing close to where we lived
“I am from Syria, about 5 years ago when I was 9 I think, me and my brother were preparing to go to school. Then suddenly we hear a loud explosion, all the glass in the windows shattered and the doors leading to the balcony were locked so the locks broke and the doors slammed open. After that we heard a lot of shooting. I wouldn’t stop screaming so my mom covered my mouth to shut me up and we all hid in a room that had no windows so it would be safer and waited for things to calm down. We got a lot of calls meanwhile from people who found out that the bombing was so close to us and were concerned. I don’t recall how long it took for things to calm down but when it finally did we found it that it was a suicide bombing very close to where we live. Roughly 4 years ago I was lucky enough to immigrate to Sweden, very nice country with nice people.” — LemonBarf
4. A tsunami killed a lot of my childhood friends and their families
“So when I was a very young child, I lived in South East Asia. One day early in the morning I was just playing, my parents must have been doing their morning prayers and the next thing I knew the entirety of the ocean was spilling over itself. We lived on the coast at this time and it was like the whole ocean had just lifted out. My dad grabbed me and ran towards a block of apartments at the end of the street. I don’t know what happened to my mum but she must have been unable to run fast enough because I’m pretty sure she got overwhelmed by the tide and survived by holding on to a tree. I’m not entirely sure how she survived actually, because looking back on the extent of the 2004 tsunami she should have been swept away completely by the force of the water.
So now I’m on the top of this roof and my dad goes back in, swimming to our house to retrieve our passports and documents, while the water keeps creeping up. I think it was a 4 or 5 storey building and the water must have reached the second or 3rd floor. He must have been a really strong swimmer because he got pretty much all of our documents in between the waves (and probably saved my mum as well???)
After this we were able to stay with friends some distance away after this, but everything in the town got destroyed. In fact I realized the reason why my parents don’t bring up my childhood friends or try to keep in contact with their families is because they’re dead. This is pretty much the only really vivid memory I have from that age, and my parents still kind of had a fear of the sea for a long time after that (they still can’t handle videos of flooding).” — punking_funk
5. I survived an airplane crash and suffered massive head trauma
“Here’s a question I can honestly answer: I survived an airplane crash. The story: My mother owned a few aircraft and hangar at our small town’s airport. I spent a lot of time at the airport as I was growing up spending summer washing airplanes, sweeping out hangars, etc. One warm summer afternoon in the mid-1980’s we planned to take a short flight in her Piper J-3 Cub. This plane was built in the mid-1940’s and had an aluminum skeleton covered in fabric and tandem seats, one in front, one in back. I sat in front due to the better view and my mom, the pilot, sat in back. I remember the pre-flight, and some taxiing to the runway, but nothing else. Now the rest of the story I received second hand. Neither my mom nor I remember anything of the actual accident due to the massive head trauma we both received. But what I’ve heard from family and the ambulance drivers who arrived on the scene is that on take off (the most dangerous part of any flight, imho) we lost power. Engine cut out, not really sure why. So with a relatively slow airspeed and no thrust from the engine we changed from being a beautiful flying machine to a brick, rather quickly. Well, we dropped like a brick and proceeded to hit the ground in a rather quick manner. The ambulance drivers who arrived on the scene thought we were done for. Things did not look good for us. But after a helicopter ride to the nearest trauma center a hundred miles away, we are still alive and breathing today. I spent about 5 weeks in the hospital, but only remember the last two. To remind me what happened I have nasty scars on my lower lip and chin and a dent on the side of head. One thing I find myself wondering is if I had the chance to relive the whole thing over again would I want to remember? At this point in my life I can say I would not. Such things are not worth remembering. And did we ever fly again? You bet. As soon as my mom was able to pass a flight physical we were both up in the air again.” — geneaskew