I was eight years old 40 years ago today – the day the Iranian hostage crisis began. It started on a Saturday, if I remember it right. No one envisioned the crisis lasting so long when it began, that I’m pretty sure of.
There was an effort to get the hostages out, but the efforts were too few. One ended in disaster, killing eight members of our military the following year. In the fall of 1980, Ronald Reagan made a late surge in that year’s elections to upend Jimmy Carter after his first term.
A wave of patriotism swept the country when Reagan became the new President, and quickly announced a deal to free the hostages. Yellow ribbons were everywhere, a symbol of their return – including that year’s Super Bowl between the Raiders and Eagles.
My father, who was a meat cutter at Publix, had what we’d call today some side hustles. He’d take some pieces of wood and make clocks out of them – that was a thing back then for some reason. We found out that the family or relative of one of the hostages lived in the Tampa Bay Area, so he and my mom tried to get a patriotic oak wood clock to them, but had no success contacting them.
It was an ordeal no one likes to remember, for sure. If something like that happened in present times, I couldn’t envision it lasting 400-plus days. We’d get our people the hell out of there.