The total solar eclipse lived up to its billing.
Mother Nature cooperated and viewing the phenomenon was not obscured in The T&D Region. Venues were packed with people, many of whom came from long distances to the Orangeburg area for what for some will be a once-in-a-lifetime event.
T&D reporters on Monday talked with many people, from places as far away as Bulgaria, Ireland, England, Argentina, Germany, Canada and Jamaica. From the United States, people came here from New York, New Jersey, Maryland, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Ohio, Florida and Georgia.
The visitors were impressed.
• “My legs were shaking,” said Alfonso Castro of Miami. “I couldn’t believe it.”
• “It was pretty magical,” said Nicole Edge of Savannah, Georgia.
• “The moment when it got dark and everybody started cheering, that was really cool,” said Randa Mauldin of New Jersey.
• “I was laughing and crying at the same time,” said Brenda Beverly of Mobile, Alabama. “I was speechless. I don’t have words to describe it.”
• “It was spectacular,” said Tom Hughes of New Hampshire. “Feels like once in a lifetime.”
• "It's not often you can see this twice," said Ivelina Brode of Varna, Bulgaria, noting she'd experienced a total solar eclipse in Bulgaria about 16 years ago.
• “It felt like nighttime,” said Doris Milligan of Valdosta, Georgia. “We could hear the frogs.”
• "It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience to come here to see the full eclipse. We would have seen like 80 percent from where we live, so a full eclipse would have been much cooler to see," said Rachel Stadtler of Deland, Florida.
For others, the experience had a broader purpose. At the South Carolina State University stadium event, Miles McKay said, "An eclipse is very magnificent. When I saw one in Indonesia, from that day, I thought that was one of the best things that I've ever seen. So I'm back here wanting to get hopefully some more data, learn some more about the sun as well as see the eclipse. That's why we put so much time and effort into this."
McKay, a 2016 S.C. State graduate, now works as a research and instrumentation analyst at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore.
For The T&D Region as host, it is always good to hear assessments such as from the Milligan family of Valdosta. They were happy with the kindness of the Orangeburg community. “We’ve been very impressed with the hospitality.”
Still, many of the visitors will be one-timers here.
Dan and Anne Staub of Philadelphia added perspective. They came to Orangeburg Monday from a hotel in North Charleston, thinking they could get a better view.
"It's exciting. We've never been here and probably won't be here again, but we're happy to be here now,” Anne said.
For the future, the next total solar eclipse visible in the United States will happen on April 8, 2024. It will move across North America from Mexico to Canada but not directly across the Carolinas. Not until 2045 will a total eclipse go coast-to-coast in the United States, from northern California to central Florida.
Until then, seeing the daylight turn to darkness at 2:43 p.m. Monday is reason enough to reflect on the comment of another Orangeburg visitor, Joia Hughes of New Jersey: “I hope the sun never shuts its lights off on us.”