Growing up south of Rochester, New York, one of my regular childhood memories is of the tests of the Emergency Broadcast System. I would hear these on a very regular basis over the radio as well as on television.
Today, for the only time during my childhood, the Emergency Broadcast System sounded with “This is not a test, I repeat, this is not a test.” As a child I did not really understand the importance of the system. I was not yet, at the age of six, acutely aware of how close we were, throughout my childhood, to serious war with the Soviet Union (USSR.) This alarm was not because of a military warning. This was an alarm triggered by a steam leak at the reactor at the Ginna Nuclear Power Plant in Ontario, New York just east of Rochester.
The leak at Ginna lasted only for 93 minutes but, for many of us, the event would stick in our memory. I had not been aware before today that there was even a nuclear power plant in the Rochester area. It is not something that I would forget.
At nine this evening, President Ronald Reagan delivered his first State of the Union Address which I would have been allowed to stay up to watch. My memories of the State of the Union Addresses always make me think of the Reagan years when they were really worth watching.