The May 1980 eruption of Mount Saint Helens was definitely a major event in the lives of many Americans as well as scientists etc. For those of us old enough at the time to recognize its importance we may even remember what we were doing at that time.
I was teaching middle school preparing to go to Outward Bound in North Carolina and didn't really think much about the events in Washington state that spring but one of my two OB crew instructors that June was from Seattle and she spoke about having problems calling home on her breaks. She also told us about her family worrying about further eruptions. Later as Mount Saint Helens continued to evolve vulcanically I read more and followed it in the news and magazines.
So when I had the chance to visit the area a few weeks ago my husband and I drove up to Johnston Ridge Observatory making stops along the way to view the various stages of renewal and regrowth. This is still a powerful place to see!