Yesterday marks 40 years since that fateful day in 1980. Above is a documentary shot shortly thereafter, showing the volcanic eruption, its devastating aftermath, and some of the things irretrievably lost in it all. Most notably, 80-year old Harry Truman (no relation to the former president who shared his name), who was swamped by the eruption, along with his beloved lodge, his cats, his player piano, and the forest all around them on the shores of Spirit Lake. The only quote more memorable than the salty things old Harry said came from the lips of then-president Jimmy Carter himself, who remarked after touring the area by helicopter that “the Moon looks like a golf course compared to what’s up there”.
Life has since returned to the disaster area, but the lessons of St. Helens should not be forgotten. Those who insisted on being so close to the mountain when it blew its stack were lost, and nothing can bring them back.