Articles > Meditations and Musings > Unexpected Mercies

Unexpected Mercies

Published by Chapster on 2006/8/12 (6884 reads)
September 2, 1998, Swiss Air Flight 111 crashed in the Atlantic Ocean. In the midst of the tragedy, an unexpected mercy took place. To learn more, continue reading the following article...

It was September 4, 1998. I was listening to National Public Radio's All Things Considered report on the crash of Swiss Air Flight 111. Noah Adams conducted a fascinating, albeit brief, interview of Dan Conlin, a historian for the Maritime Museum in Nova Scotia. In the interview it was pointed out that the people of Nova Scotia's small coastal communities are not wealthy (Conlin: "You're dealing with a humanitarian tradition of very small communities with very meager resources, in some cases, that goes back many, many centuries"). They are salt of the earth people with little means; people just trying to make ends meet.

Since the 1500's, Conlin points out, over 5000 shipwrecks have occurred near Nova Scotia. The main shipping channels between the major cities of Europe and North America pass right by Nova Scotia. This is true not only for ships but also for airliners. This is why Swiss Air Flight 111 went down so close to Halifax. The bodies of Titanic's victims were transported to Halifax for burial. Conlin: "So you're dealing with many tiny communities having to respond to these big vessels full of strangers in any way they could." As an example, Dan, both in the interview and in an e-mail to us reported the case of the SS Atlantic which sank "near the tiny village of Terrance Bay at the outer approaches to the (Halifax) harbour, a community of only about 200 people to look after the 400 survivors and 562 victims!)" Imagine, so few people caring for so many sick, injured, and dead!

On the same edition of All Things Considered, it was reported that Nova Scotia marshaled many social workers and counselors to meet the emotional and spiritual needs of the Swiss Air victims relatives. More than 900 hotel and motel rooms were set aside for families. Following the crash of the airliner, Nova Scotia's Premier asked Nova Scotians to "open their hearts and their homes" to the victims families.

Tags: reflection   meditation   altruism   flight   sacrifice  

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