Thursday, April 18, 2013 at 5:12 a.m. was the 107th anniversary of the great Earthquake and Fire that destroyed a large part of San Francisco.
Each year, to remember that moment, and to celebrate San Francisco's rebirth, people gather at Lotta's Fountain at the corner of Market Street at Kearny Street. Geary Street starts at this spot and 3rd Street is across Market.
After the Earthquake and Fire, Lotta's Fountain became a meeting place for the survivors; it was one of the few landmarks left standing.
As is the case each year, the fountain was repainted, adorned with a commemorative ribbon and flower wreath...totally spiffed up and ready to celebrate, but this year the celebration took a different turn...in more than one way.
First of all, there was a possible bomb scare (suspicious package that turned out to be a suitcase filled with clothes) which caused several blocks in this area be blocked off.
So, all those who attended were escorted by a tour guide, dressed in 19th century garb as Emperor Norton, a few blocks west to Union Square. By the way, Emperor Norton was an eccentric man who sometime in the mid-19th century declared himself Emperor of the United States and Mexico. He lived much of his later life in San Francisco.
The other "unusual" happening was that this year was the first year that no one who survived the Earthquake and Fire attended the celebration.
Well...it was 107 years ago, after all. There are at least 3 known survivors in the Bay Area, but none of them were able to attend. One of them did make the parade the day before.
I just happened to be walking by Lotta's Fountain on Friday, April 19, and had to pause to pay tribute.
And so it goes...live and people go on, in spite of it all.