July 13th, 2005

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This Day in History, 1977: New York City Blackout

Twenty-eight years ago today, on Wednesday, July 13, 1977, a blackout started in New York City that lasted overnight into the next afternoon.

I was seven years old at the time, and I remember the blackout somewhat. According to official reports, it started at 8:37 PM. My brothers and I were in our bedroom, reading by the light of the lamp on the bureau of drawers, when suddenly the light went out. I don't recall if we panicked or not. According to my memories, my father came into the room within seconds with a lit candle in a holder.

The 1977 blackout is infamous for the looting and riots that took place. Ensconced in our house in Forest Hills, none of that affected me. We got the news over a battery-powered radio and then somehow managed to get to sleep that night. My memory tells me that it was a hot night.

I don't recall much of the next day except that we did wait for the power to return. I do remember how we discovered that we had power again. I was outside, standing near the gate and tunnel that led into Forest Close, of which my house was a part. (Basically, the entire block consisted of houses that surrounded a locked in common area of grass and trees.) The tunnel contained a light, and although it was a bright mid-afternoon, we saw that the light had suddenly gone on again. We went back into our house, and sure enough, the power had returned.

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Today in History: Space Shuttle Discovery

If all goes well today (and please, God, let it all go well today), at 3:51 PM EDT the space shuttle Discovery will launch, returning Americans to space after over two years of being grounded since the Columbia tragedy. I remember watching in 1989 when Discovery returned us to space after the Challenger tragedy. I was in college at the time, and I saw the launch on a television set in the Science Center, if I recall correctly. If I can, I'll be watching again today.

Good luck and Godspeed to
Commander Eileen Collins
Pilot James Kelly
Mission Specialist Charles Camarda
Mission Specialist Wendy Lawrence
Mission Specialist Soichi Noguchi
Mission Specialist Steve Robinson
Mission Specialist Andy Thomas

Take us back to where we belong...and then please return safely home.

(Link: NASA's Return to Flight Page)