Today is the 26th aniversary of one of the many tragic moments in Mexico’s history: THE EARTHQUAKE OF 1985.
It’s not that we commemorate the earthquake itself, having lived recently through one (7.2, april 4,2010, Baja California, Mexico), what we most want is to forget. We give thanks for the survivors and pray for the victims. But, above all, today all throughout the country, in schools, on the streets, in every office building a siren will go off at the same time it did 26 years ago as an exercise in earthquake preparedness – a drill!
This is so much a part of our daily lives (and worries, specially if you live in a seismic zone) that drills are welcome exercises to awaken our reflexes AND OUR CONSCIENCE.
Last year, (oh yeah, we just celebrated our first year aniversary!) when my family and I first got here (Mexico City), my children had just started school when the drill for the 25th aniversary took place. My children didn’t know it would happen, because they had just become part of their group so it took them by surprise (of course, earthquakes ALWAYS take you by surprise, so in a way it happened like it was meant to). My eldest thought it was a real one and to her dismay HAD NO IDEA WHAT THE SAFE SPOTS WERE. All her classmates took it as a joke, did not follow instructions, there was no order. My daughter, felt scared, lost, trapped. She had (as I said before) just lived through a terrible one back home, after which the earth continued to shake and hasn’t stopped. School drills were an everyday practice and her classmates had a very clear vision of the seriousness and their role in assuring the safety of all. So when this drill took place in her new school and she saw the lack of interest and responsibility she couldn’t believe it. At that moment it was hard for her to understand that these children only knew of this because of stories they’d heard from their parents of even grandparents, many of them have never had to experience it.
Sadly there are things that you have to live to believe and to understand. A severe earthquake is one of those!
Today President Calderón will stand guard at 7:19 a.m. at the Plaza de la Constitución and the flag will be raised only half way in rememberance of all the victims.
At 9 a.m. there will be a MEGASIMULACRO -a city-wide drill – organized by the city’s government.
Have a safe week!