| This 1983: Doomsday page is a Proposal.
This is a list of personal testimonies taken from various survivors in communities that now make up the Commonwealth of Susquehanna, and the few survivors from around Wilkes-Barre and Scranton. It was written between 2007 and 2013 as the reporters tried to interview people who had an impact or a dramatic story that could be confirmed. it was published on September 25th, 2013, the thirtieth anniversary of the day now known as Doomsday.
Personal Testimony of John Yudichak, at the time of Doomsday was 13, living with his parents in Nanticoke, Pennsylvania (Told in 2009)
I was 13 when Doomsday occurred. I remember it was around 9 PM, because I was upstairs doing homework and my parents were watching the 1983 Grammy's downstairs in the living room. We lived a few miles south of the downtown area, and I was in 7th grade that year. I heard my mom say, "They've done it ..." My dad came pounding up the steps and slammed open the door, grabbed my arm, and ran down the steps. It was terrifying, because I still didn't know what was going on. We had just recently moved from Wilkes Barre to Nanticoke, which probably saved us. As we ran to cellar, I saw the TV, and on it was the Emergency Alert System, warning us of a nuclear war. I didn't understand what was going on yet, and was terrified.
When I stopped to stare my dad shouted, "Come on, no time to stare, get into the basement, NOW!" I thought he was angry at me, but looking back now, it seems like he was more afraid than anything. Once we got to the cellar, my dad told us to keep away from the small glass windows which were set up high in the wall. He packed some blankets my mother had in storage over the glass. Luckily in the basement, my dad had kept some canned goods, bottled water and a battery operated radio just in case. After a few minutes, I thought this was all just a mistake or a drill that the government put on to check our response.
Then the loudest BOOM I have ever heard occurred, and the ground shook. Even through the blankets I could see the bright flash. After that there was lots of noise upstairs, the sound of glass breaking, wooden cabinets being smashed to smithereens, and the walls of the basement shook as well. I though the house would collapse and we would all die trapped down there. It was terrifying. After several hours, my dad turned on the radio, but there was nothing. All the AM and FM channels were as if they had never existed. The only thing that we heard was the snow.
We tried to sleep, but it was impossible with the events of the night before. The next morning, my dad went upstairs to see what it was like. Unfortunately, I think that is some of the reason why he died from cancer a few years later. But we had to know if it was safe. Several minutes later, he came down and told us we should keep put for a few more days until the ash cleared and possibly the radiation as well. He had also managed to find a picture of our family from the summer before at Rickett's Glen State Park.
After a few days we had used up most of the canned goods and water, and it began to smell because there was no toilet down there so we had to dig a hole in the corner. The radio still had nothing broadcasting. When we left the basement and went upstairs my mother and I saw the damage for the first time. The house was destroyed, walls were knocked over, and the second story was more or less gone. As we grabbed a few supplies, and walked outside, our whole family saw it, the first of many corpses. My mother got sick at the sight of it, and my dad tried to shield her from seeing them. It was bloated, and covered in flies. The car was gone, and thinking back, I doubt it would have worked regardless. Our neighbors homes were in the same state as ours were, and several homes on the block were burning. With nobody to stop them, we could tell soon the entire neighborhood was going to go up in flames.
My father decided to follow Route 11 down towards Bloomsburg. He had several friends who worked in that area who might have been able to help us. We didn't know what else was happening, and if anyone else from Nanticoke survived. After making that decision, dad found his rifle laying in the house with a few rounds of ammunition. He shoved it in his pocket before we headed out. There was nothing left here for us. Ash was still falling from the sky onto the ground.
Normally it would take about an hour to reach Bloomsburg from Nanticoke in a car, but on foot it took us almost a day. People had been trying to flee but when the EMP hit it caused gridlock, trapping people who died when the bombs hit Wilkes-Barre and Scranton. It was gross, with bodies laying on the road and in cars. My father again tried to shield us, but after a while gave up due to the numbers.
We saw a few other people walking the same way as we were, down the highway. None of us interacted, it was almost like everyone was in a trance from the events earlier that week. After walking until noon, my father decided to stop and we ate the last of our canned goods. Once noon passed (or what we thought was noon), we continued down the highway. Mom still was having a hard time getting over the bodies in the road. Me personally, I just started to not notice them after the first couple hundred.
As we got closer to Berwick there were less bodies in the road, and the traveling was easier. We reached Berwick early that evening, and were found by some police officers who were patrolling the perimeter. They got us medical care, as basic as it was from the lack of electricity, and food. When my father told us he had friends in Bloomsburg, they agreed to send a militia member down there to guard us. The officer allowed us to stay at their house that night.
The next morning, we set out to finish the journey. We reached Bloomsburg by late morning and found his friend, who was shocked to see us. He assumed that we had died in the blast. You could tell though that Bloomsburg had some issues, there were several dozen destroyed homes, and there were many empty abandoned ones as well. More than likely hundreds of people had fled the town.
A few days later after we had recovered, the town council gave us a home to move into. We settled in after a few months and all got jobs. School was very basic, and as I later found out, the towns in the area were actually only in an alliance. I managed to finish middle school and high school by working all day and taking classes at night from a few teachers who lived on our street. I repaid them by working for them, and giving them vegetables, because my mother had a garden in the back.
I got a job in 1989 working for the mayor of Bloomsburg as a secretary, so I was involved during the drafting of a provisional government. In 1998 I ran for the Senate as a Democrat and won. It was that year that my father died from leukemia, which was common in the few survivors from our area. Mom got cancer in the mid 2000's but is still alive. I married a woman from Danville, have two children, and plan to run for the General Assembly again in 2010, but we shall see. My doctor thinks I have leukemia as well, but I expected that. I have since found out that there is a survivor camp in the ruins of Nanticoke, and the Commonwealth of Susquehanna is negotiating to evacuate them. Hopefully someday my home city will be repopulated.
(Out of the former population in Nanticoke of around 13,000, less than 200 survived to see the turn of the century. Survivors from around the area repopulated it after a few years, and the city was evacuated in 2014.)
Personal Testimony of Joe Maddon, at the time of Doomsday was 29, home visiting his parents who lived in Hazleton, Pennsylvania (Told in 2013)
I was home from California, visiting my parents who still lived in Hazleton. That night, we were all watching the Emmy Awards. A bit before 9, the station switched back to the news. At first it seemed confusing what was going on exactly, some sort of sick joke. But after Press Secretary Speakes came on the air, we realized it was true.
I remembered some pamphlet I had seen in downtown Los Angeles last time before I came home to visit. It said to get to shelter underground or in a protected building.
The apartment didn't have a basement so we hid in the bathtub as if there was a tornado. A series of bright flashes came from the north, south, and east as bombs wiped out the world as we knew it.
Once we came out, my parents and I were relieved to see that Hazleton had survived. But soon the city fell into disarray as thousands of survivors overwhelmed the medical services and law enforcement.
I was helping the local police when we got word that they were abandoning the city. We were sent home to get our families, pack a few things, and leave by nightfall. The mayor and some other officials fled to a small nearby town where they set up shop alongside the local government.
After things settled down and several gangs took over Hazleton, the mayor decided to take our city back. Once we slogged our way through the streets, the entire militia managed to free the city.
The city government resettled the area and took control of some farms around the area. There were still issues with food and defense. I was offered a job in the city police department, which were providing defense for the city. It was an intense job and I saw many of my friends lose their lives to gangs, but it was an important role.
For several years after Doomsday, I worked for the City of Hazleton Police Department as an officer. I also helped manage some local high school baseball teams, as well as elementary level.
When the Commonwealth of Susquehanna offered to annex the region, I supported the plan due to the rampant poverty and crumbling infrastructure. After a debate in the City Council, the agreed.
I resigned as a officer in the local police to take a job as a State Trooper in the State Police. Since joining, I have been promoted to Commander of the East Barrack's.
In my spare time, I helped start the Susquehanna Baseball League. Although Hazleton technically owns the team, I am head coach for the Hazleton Mountaineers.
I am coaching and will accompany the chosen competitors for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Saint John's, Canada.