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Sunday marked the 34th anniversary of the  cataclysmic May 18, 1980, eruption of Mount St. Helens. To me, it does seem like it happened long ago, but some of my experiences of that day remain very fresh in my mind.

You'll have to bear with me, but I'm not able to give you a historical, chronological run-down of everything that I saw or did on that day 34 years ago. Instead, I'll just throw out some random thoughts about May 18, 1980, that still stick out in my mind.

  • It was very eerie to hear the mountain roaring away at a distance of over 90 miles, to see the skies darken, to hear the birds stop singing and to listen to the first of the volcanic ash falling.
  • My first thoughts were when I heard my boss go on the air and tell everyone not to panic and stay home. Except KIT Radio employees who needed to report to work. Go figure.
  • Taking part in a marathon broadcast day that truly taught me what a station like KIT meant, and still means, to a community.
  • Eating better for the next few days than my bachelor budget usually allowed, as just about every restaurant in town brought the staff food for the next week.
  • Sticking my head out the back door of the station every once in a while to see if the ash had stopped falling.
  • Never having a sense of impending doom. I just had a feeling that the eruption would stop eventually.
  • Watching neighborhoods pitch in over the next few weeks to clean up, and watching people make speed bumps out of ash piles to slow down motorists and keep the dust down.
  • Seeing the green and orange lightning that appeared in that voluminous cloud of ash.

Obviously, there are many more things that I remember about that day over three decades ago, but these are just a few random highlights. For many of us, the eruption is becoming a distant memory, but to a whole new generation it's just a historical event that happened to someone else.