Saturday, October 17, 2009
Today is the 20th anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake, a 7.0 Richter magnitude earthquake that rocked the San Francisco and Monterey Bay areas. I remember the day well. I was in the fifth grade and we were studying the Civil War. On October 17, 1989, I was in San Francisco with the fifth grade classes from my school on a field trip to visit Fort Point as part of our Civil War studies. Fortunately, we were on our way home with the earthquake struck at 5:04 pm. On the bus, it felt like all four tires had blown out, one after the other. We weren't sure what had happened, but the bus pulled over and we all got off so they could check the bus. When we got off, our teacher informed us there had been an earthquake. None of us realized had bad it was. My first clue about the intensity of the earthquake came when we passed a sound wall under construction on the way home. On the way up to San Francisco, I noticed the wall was almost finished. When we passed by it after the earthquake, I noticed it was just a pile of rubble. My next clue about how bad the earthquake was came when I got off the bus back at our school and I saw the relief on my mom's face when she saw me. She had no idea where we were when the earthquake hit and was afraid we were part of the damages they were showing on TV. She told me how worried she had been about me. But, I still didn't realize how bad the earthquake was. Then I got home and saw all of the news reports and images of the damage done. It was bad. Collapsed freeways, landslides, fires, etc., etc. Most of the damage happened in San Francisco and Santa Cruz and it was extensive. Fortunately, my neighborhood came through almost unscathed. But, it was quite the event to experience. I can't believe 20 years have gone by since that day.
Where were you when the earthquake hit?