Friday, March 13, 2009


I remember when I was four years old attending kindergarten in Carmel, New York back in 1959. One memorable event at that time was practicing what to do in case of a nuclear attack.

In Carmel kindergarten, we didn't "duck and cover" by crouching underneath our desks with our hands cradling our head. Upon hearing the wailing air raid siren, we were instructed to walk single file out of our classroom out into the hallway and then stand with our backs to the hallway lockers. Once we were all stationed out in the hall, all of the lights were turned off throughout the school. So, we are all standing out in the hall in the pitch black darkness listening to the air raid siren.

The teacher stressed that it was very important to be quiet during this nuclear preparedness drill. Why it was so important to be quiet at this time I wasn't sure. Perhaps the teachers wanted to make sure we learned what the nuclear bomb sounded like so that we would remember in case we survived this nuclear attack and would know the signs of a future attack.

We sure wouldn't have seen much of the nuclear attack with the lights off although that probably reduced our chances of being electrocuted if a bomb exploded. I understand that a nuclear explosion generates a brief flash of light on impact so maybe the school just wanted to save electricity as the exploded nuclear bomb would have given us a brief glimpse of light so that we would have been able to see this cataclysmic event.