As we cascade through life there are moments we will never forget. As we go down memory lane in the next few paragraphs, ask yourself “ Where was I when”?
July 20, 1969 – Apollo 11 and the first Moonwalk
Neil Armstrong was a NASA astronaut most famous for being the first person to walk on the moon. Armstrong retires from NASA in 1971 and remained active in the aerospace community, although he chose to keep mostly out of the public spotlight. Armstrong died Aug. 25, 2012 at the age of 82.
As for me: I was crawling around the floor annoying my parents I am sure.
November 10, 1979 – Mississauga Train Derailment
The Mississauga train derailment of 1979, also known as the Mississauga Miracle occurred on Saturday, November 10, 1979, in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, when a 106-car CP Rail freight train carrying chemicals and explosives including styrene, toluene, propane, caustic soda, and chlorine from Windsor, Ontario derailed near the intersection of Mavis Road and Dundas Street in Mississauga, Ontario. As a result of the derailment, more than 200,000 people were evacuated in what was the largest peacetime evacuation in North America until the New Orleans evacuations during Hurricane Katrina. There were no deaths resulting from the incident.
As for me: I was a young lad and didn’t much understand the gravity of the situation.
January 28, 1986 – Space Shuttle Challenger
The Space Shuttle Challenger disaster was a fatal incident in the United States’ space program that occurred on January 28, 1986, when the Space Shuttle Challenger broke apart 73 seconds into its flight, killing all seven crew members aboard. The crew consisted of five NASA astronauts, and two payload specialists.
Approximately 17 percent of the US population witnessed the launch on live television broadcast because of the presence of high school teacher Christa McAuliffe, who would have been the first teacher in space. Media coverage of the accident was extensive; one study reported that 85 percent of Americans surveyed had heard the news within an hour of the accident. The Challenger disaster has been used as a case study in many discussions of engineering safety and workplace ethics.
As for me: I was a high school student, and the announcement came over the loudspeaker of what happened.
June 17, 1994 – White Ford Bronco Chase
As millions settled in to watch Game 5 of the NBA Finals that had the New York Knicks take on the Houston Rockets. Instead, another sports figure dominated television in an unforgettable way. O.J. Simpson hopped into a White Ford Bronco, rode down a Los Angeles interstate and sparked one of the most-watched event in TV history. That was the day Simpson was charged with two counts of murder in the deaths of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman. He was supposed to have turned himself in to face the charge but didn’t. He was declared a fugitive, and a warrant was put out for his arrest.
As for me: I remember watching this from my apartment at the time with my girlfriend as most were in total disbelief. Watching the thousands who gathered on the streets cheering him on and then watching him sit in the bronco in front of his home.
October 3, 1995- O.J. Simpson Acquitted
At the end of a sensational trial, former football star O.J. Simpson is acquitted of the brutal 1994 double murder of his estranged wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman. In the epic 252-day trial, Simpson’s “dream team” of lawyers employed creative and controversial methods to convince jurors that Simpson’s guilt had not been proved “beyond a reasonable doubt,” thus surmounting what the prosecution called a “mountain of evidence” implicating him as the murderer.
As for me: I was going to see a client and waited in the parking lot until I heard the verdict.
August 31, 1997 – Death – Diana, Princess of Wales
Shortly after midnight affectionately known as “the People’s Princess” dies in a car crash in Paris. She was 36. Her boyfriend, the Egyptian-born socialite Dodi Fayed, and the driver of the car, Henri Paul, died as well.
Princess Diana was one of the most popular public figures in the world. Her death was met with a massive outpouring of grief. Mourners began visiting Kensington Palace immediately, leaving bouquets at the home where the princess, also known as Lady Di, would never return. Piles of flowers reached some 30 feet from the palace’s gate.
Diana and Dodi—who had been vacationing in the French Riviera—arrived in Paris earlier the previous day. They left the Ritz Paris just after midnight, intending to go to Dodi’s apartment on the Rue Arsène Houssaye. As soon as they departed the hotel, a swarm of paparazzi on motorcycles began aggressively tailing their car. About three minutes later, the driver lost control and crashed into a pillar at the entrance of the Pont de l’Alma tunnel.
As for me: A parent of only one child at the time a two-year-old boy (Skyler), I was home with my then wife and we were having adult beverages with our neighbours.
August 14, 2003 – Blackout
More than 50 million people in Ontario and the northeastern United States experienced the largest power outage in the history of North America on August 14, 2003. This page looks back at what caused the power outage, presents lessons learned and outlines some of the steps that have been taken since to improve power system reliability across North America. The causes for the blackout are now attributed to deficiencies in operations and procedures in the state of Ohio. Specifically, there was a lack of adequate vegetation, or tree, management, poor communications between various utilities in the area, compounded by lack of training and tools for local operators to effectively deal with the emergency.
Due to these degraded conditions in Ohio, a series of large power swings ranging between 2,000 and 4,000 megawatts pulsed into Ontario’s grid interconnections in Michigan and New York. As a result, at precisely 4:11 p.m. on August 14, the northeastern United States power system, and portions of the Ontario power system began to shut down. Roughly 61,800 megawatts of customer load was interrupted − impacting a population of more than 50 million people. In Ontario, nearly all electricity service east of Wawa was down, with small pockets of electricity service remaining in Niagara and Cornwall. Restoration efforts continued for the better part of nine days until the state of emergency ended on August 22.
As for me: With several neighbours doing a community barbeque to get rid of what was in the freezer.
August 29, 2005 – Hurricane katrina
Early in the morning on August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast of the United States. When the storm made landfall, it had a Category 3 rating on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale–it brought sustained winds of 100–140 miles per hour–and stretched some 400 miles across.
While the storm itself did a great deal of damage, its aftermath was catastrophic. Levee breaches led to massive flooding, and many people charged that the federal government was slow to meet the needs of the people affected by the storm. Hundreds of thousands of people in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama were displaced from their homes, and experts estimate that Katrina caused more than $100 billion in damage.
The day before Katrina hit, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin issued the city’s first-ever mandatory evacuation order. He also declared that the Superdome, a stadium located on relatively high ground near downtown, would serve as a “shelter of last resort” for people who could not leave the city. (For example, some 112,000 of New Orleans’ nearly 500,000 people did not have access to a car.) By nightfall, almost 80 percent of the city’s population had evacuated. Some 10,000 had sought shelter in the Superdome, while tens of thousands of others chose to wait out the storm at home.
In all, Hurricane Katrina killed nearly 2,000 people and affected some 90,000 square miles of the United States. Hundreds of thousands of evacuees scattered far and wide. In New Orleans, the storm ultimately displaced more than 1 million people in the Gulf Coast region.
As for me: Like most, I was in total disbelief of the magnitude of the destruction.
December 2019 – COVID- 19 Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic, also known as the coronavirus pandemic, is an ongoing pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). It was first identified in December 2019 in Wuhan, China. The World Health Organization declared the outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern in January 2020 and a pandemic in March 2020. As of 7 March 2021, more than 11.7 million cases have been confirmed, with more than 2.59 million deaths attributed to COVID-19, making it one of the deadliest pandemics in history.
As for me: March 2020 – I was at our Leduc Alberta office and was wondering how I was going to get home. I had a reservation to fly back to Ontario, but would the airlines be shut down, would I have to drive? Thankfully, my flight was a go and I made it back home.
I understand there were plenty of events that I have omitted in my blog, but you must pick and choose what has impacted you the most. I encourage those reading this blog to leave a comment on a time and date of an event that left an impact on you.
Be Great! Be Safe!