On March 26, Jessica McClure of Midland, Texas will turn 31 years old. To some, this may not seem like a big a deal. But to those of us that sat helplessly by our television sets, or lived nearby and joined a growing number of supporters of her family and community, it’s a huge deal. Although it wasn’t her birthday that brought us together, but a harrowing experience so many of us recall, with an outcome so positive, almost all of North America breathed a sigh of relief. Millions of viewers watched and will still remember when 18-month-old Jessica McClure was rescued from a fall down her aunt’s backyard well in Midland, after being trapped for almost 60 hours.
‘Baby Jessica’ 3 Decades Afterward: Honorary Goddaughter of So Many Americans
Thirty years ago, this year, on October 16, millions of Americans (and many around the world) remember watching as 18-month-old Jessica McClure was rescued from an eight-inch well casing, 22 feet below, after being trapped for almost 60 hours. Soon to be 31, Jessica McClure Morales still responds to “Baby Jessica” from both friends and strangers in Midland but has no memory of the traumatic event. In an interview with People Magazine, however, she acknowledges the realization of why so many people were devoted to hoping and praying for her survival back then. “I had God on my side that day,” she told the magazine, “My life is a miracle.”
Going without food and water and left in a perilous position for such a length of time, television viewers helplessly watched while hundreds of rescuers, paramedics, contractors and experts in the technology of waterjet cutting (an innovation at the time) worked tirelessly to save her life. Their only reassurance that she was still alive was the sound of Jessica singing “Winnie the Pooh” from down in the well.