Tom Burt – Ft. Richardson

I was almost 6 years old. My Dad was in the Army, and we had just been stationed at Ft. Richardson, Anchorage, Alaska. I had climbed a small lamp pole, and was sitting on top of it, when a man came home from work, parked his car, and went inside his building. I remember looking at his car jiggling, and thinking “he must have left it running”. About then the force knocked me off the pole, and I went running home. I must have fallen several times running home. The earth was moving so much, you just couldn’t keep your feet under you. Once home, things were falling off the walls, and I saw my Mom crying for the first time ever. That scared me to see her crying. That meant this was REALLY bad. I don’t remember how long it lasted.

But I remember the aftershocks and tremors that for days afterward would come unexpectedly and we would get scared thinking “here it comes again”. After the main event, I remember going to neighbors’ houses and comparing damage…some peoples refrigerators fell over. Think about the force required to do that! Our favorite street that we would sled down got a big crack in it, running across the street. I think it was maybe 5-6 inches wide. I don’t know how deep it went, but to us kids, it was a bottomless pit that went all the way to China. We just kept sledding right over top of it. The days and months that followed found me scared to get near the water, because I thought it was going to suck me in like all the houses and structures that destroyed near the coastline and harbors etc….. We lived there until 1967, when we transferred to Ft. Lewis Washington. I loved Alaska. It was like living in the frontier wilderness, but I will always remember that Good Friday i n1964.

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