10.5.2023 | Thursday

thursday 13: iconic 80s moments

category: Memetastic
tag(s): ,

reading time: 4 minutes
play along here

In keeping with last week’s theme, I’m going down memory lane with iconic moments of my teen youth!

1. the eruption of Mount St. Helens

The eruption took place on 18 May 1980, triggered by an earthquake. The volcano resulted in a huge crater and disseminated tons of volcanic ash across several states. Sadly, 57 people were killed in the aftermath.

2. Lech Wałęsa and Solidarność

In August of 1980, Wałęsa headed a shipyard strike in Gdansk. The goal of the strike was to improve working conditions for Poland’s labor force. A series of strikes by the Solidarność (Solidarity) organization led to the Gdansk Agreement, which gave workers the right to strike and to organize unions. Wałęsa was arrested multiple times for his Solidarność work, but in 1990, he also became the first President in Poland to be democratically elected since 1926, serving until 1995.

3. the birth of Pac-Man

Pac-Man was released in Japan on 22 May 1980, releasing in the US months later in October. It quickly became an arcade favorite. Bandai Namco Entertainment sold 100K+ arcade versions of it with in the first 15 months of its existence. Fun note… it was originally going to be called “Puck-man,” which came from the Japanese word “paku,” or “to chomp.”

4. the first female US Supreme Court justice

On 25 September 1981, Sandra Day O’Connor was appointed to the Supreme Court. She was both the first woman to be nominated and the first woman to be confirmed to the position.

5. the first CD was released

The first commercial CD was released on 1 October 1982 in Japan. The album was Billy Joel’s 52nd Street, released with Sony’s CDP-101 CD player. On 2 March 1983, CD players and 16 albums from CBS Records were released in the US and other markets around the world. This advance in tech is seen as the Big Bang of the digital audio revolution, although because the cost of CD production was high, it took a few years for it to become mass produced. The first musical artist to sell 1 million CDs was Dire Straits, with the 1985 album Brothers in Arms. The first big artist to convert their entire catalogue was David Bowie, doing so in 1985, 15 studio albums and 4 “greatest hits” albums.

6. the first female VP candidate

In 1984, Geraldine Ferraro ran for VP on the Democratic ticket with Walter Mondale. This was huge at the time at politics at the national level were even more androcentric than they are now. At the time, only 24 of the 535 voting members of Congress were women, and 0 governors.

7. the discovery of the Titanic

On 2 September 1985, a team of American and French researchers discovered the wreckage more than 12,000 feet deep in the Atlantic Ocean, south of Newfoundland. The discovery quickly launched arguments over the assignment of ownership of the wreck and the items inside it and on the sea bed around it.

8. the Chernobyl meltdown

On 26 April 1985, the Chernobly nuclear power plant in Pripyat, Ukraine experienced several explosions, leading to a partial meltdown. The incident killed 32 people, but the resulting radioactive fallout affected more than 2 million peope. The radiation was 400 times more powerful than the Hiroshima atomic bomb in 1945. The population of Pripyat was relocated, and most never returned. However, there are those who did return and remain there today.

9. Baby Jessica

On 14 October 1987, 18-month-old Jessica McClure fell into a well in her aunt’s backyard. It was all over the TV, the entire world watching as rescue workers fought to save the little girl. It took 58 hours, but Baby Jessica was saved. She suffered a cut to her head and eventually had to have a toe amputated due to infection. Today, she has no first-hand memory of the incident.

10. the Exxon Valdez oil spill

On 24 March 1989, the Exxon Valdez oil tanker ran aground in Alaska, in the Prince William Sound. The accident spilled 11 milion gallons of crude oil into the Arctic waters, spreading as far as 500 miles from the crash site. It affected more than 1300 miles of shoreline, an area still suffering the effects of the spill.

11. the Game Boy was born

On 21 April 1989, Nintendo released the Game Boy in Japan, revolutionizing gaming and portability. It released later that year in the US and in Europe early the following year. It was initially priced at $89.99, quickly selling out of its initial run of 300K devices.

12. the Tiananmen Square massacre

Beginning on 15 April 1989, a group of student-led protestors gathered in Tiananmen Square to participate in peaceful anti-governement protest. They sought democratic reform and to end government corruption. On 3 June, after weeks of negotiation attempts, the Chinese government deployed the military to occupy the square. Tanks and heavily armed soldiers advanced on the square, crushing and firing on any who tried to oppose them. The deaths that day number between hundreds and thousands. In the following days, thousands of suspected dissidents were arrested, although several escaped the country. Many dissidents were subsequently executed.

13. the walls came tumbling down

On 22 December 1989, Brandenburg Gate in Berlin reopened. It was the symbolic end to almost 30 years of division between East and West Germany. Army engineers created a tunnel through one of the crossing points in the gate, and West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl came through to shake the hand of East Germany’s Prime Minister Hands Modrow. Crowds celebrated and crossed back and forth between the freshly reunited city.

rate this post
::spread the love::

3 responses to “thursday 13: iconic 80s moments

  1. I remember all those, some much better than others of course. It took me a long time to get with CDs! My biggest 80s moment was the birth of my first child in 1981.


Leave a Reply