It's hard to believe that 1999 was two decades ago. I remember being 10 years old and the whole world was in a panic over Y2K.
In the days following Christmas every television station was airing news alerts about what would happen when the clock struck midnight on New Years Eve.
As kids, we kept hearing stories and rumors that all the computers would stop working, and that the national power grids would shut down at the wake of this new millennium, because none of the electronics were programmed to roll over into the number 2000. We were all terrified that we would be thrown into an era of darkness and the world as we knew it would be over.
Doomsday preppers were getting their underground bunkers ready for when the nuclear power plants all shut down or exploded, while Area 51 fan clubs were painting themselves green and waving signs in the air to welcome a new alien race who would no doubt land and take over our planet on January 1st.
Some of the more religious groups were planning for the End of Days and were hosting revival services every night to try to save as many souls as possible.
What I remember most of that eventful New Years Eve of 1999 was being in the fellowship hall of the First Baptist Church in Hazlehurst, eating pizza at the children's new years party, and comparing christmas gifts with my classmates.
We were all up way past our bed times, of course, and the adults didn't seem to mind letting us enjoy ourselves.
We were all having a great time jamming out to Christian rock music wearing our funky Y2K glasses and beads, when suddenly the Youth Minister turned the volume down and called us all up to the sanctuary with him for the New Year's Eve service.
There we heard a short sermon from our Pastor, Dr. Hanvey, who spoke to us about the end of days, and how we all needed to reflect on where we stood with the Lord if we heard the trumpets sound at midnight.
A quiet somber silence fell over the large crowd in the church sanctuary. Street lights glowed dimly in the stained glass windows and I could see real emotion on the faces of my otherwise stoic church members.
There was a large digital countdown clock displayed on the church altar, and everyone in the sanctuary held their breath and prayed as the clock counted down from ten minutes to five...three seconds...two seconds....one.
Silence was all around us. You could have heard a pin drop as everyone slowly looked up and took a deep sigh of relief. No trumpets.....yet.
Everyone kind of looked around, awkwardly, unsure of what to do.
Suddenly a loud pop and boom from somewhere in the distance broke the silence, and the Youth Minister stood up.
"Well everyone, I guess we can finally say, Happy New Year!." He said, and everyone started to cheer and clap.
Quickly myself and all of the other kids there rushed out the front doors and down the steps of the church to see the amazing fireworks that were popping up everywhere in the distance.
Some of us were still keeping an eye out for any alien ships that might have slipped through the atmosphere unnoticed.
We had survived Y2K and lived to tell about our experiences when school started back the following week.
This week 2019 comes to an end, and I am happy to say that the past two decades have been filled with lots of love, growth, and lessons learned along the way. To many people near and far, 2020 will be just another year, and most will go back to work on January 2nd business as usual. It is my sincere hope however, that people will look back on their lives thus far, and reflect on the good and bad, and resolve to make our world a better place than it has been. Let's make this new year one for the books by celebrating and making memories with friends, but always remember to be ready and listening for those trumpets to sound.