On Monday, millions of people across America will turn out to watch the first total eclipse visible from the U.S. since 1979. Frank Reynolds covered the 1979 eclipse for ABC, and as he closed his broadcast, the anchor expressed his hope that the next eclipse in 2017 would take place over a "world at peace."
“So that’s it, the last solar eclipse to be seen on this continent in this century,” Reynolds said. “As I said, not until August 21, 2017, will another eclipse be visible from North America. “That’s 38 years from now. May the shadow of the moon fall on a world at peace.”
A video of Reynold's broadcast has been making the rounds on social media, with users despairing over just how far we are from peace.
"This is like a punch in the gut," one woman tweeted.
"[...] I remember watching this. I was 27. This is sad, so many years later and I am still praying for world peace," said another.
The year Reynolds recorded that broadcast, Jimmy Carter was president, relations between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. were deteriorating, and Donald Trump purchased what was to become Trump Tower in Manhattan. In November, five people would be killed by white supremacists while participating in a "Death to the Klan" march in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Now, Donald Trump is president, relations between the U.S. and Russia are deteriorating, and last week, 32-year-old Heather Heyer was killed by a white supremacist in Charlottesville, Virginia, while protesting racist hate groups.
While some people argued that despite the recent calamities, the world is, as a whole, more peaceful than it's ever been, it's hard not to feel upset about how far we seem to be from Reynold's hope of a world at peace.
Reynolds will not see Monday's eclipse (he died in 1983) but the shadow of the moon will fall on a country that is struggling with many of the same issues it was struggling with when Reynolds recorded his broadcast.
We can only hope that when the next total solar eclipse passes over the U.S. in April 2024, we will be, if not completely at peace, at least moving towards a more peaceful world.