6th December 2017

When two ships collided

posted in history |

History is a mish-mash. Names, places, incidents, dates. Actually, anniversaries; we rarely remember things unless we can say how long ago they “took place”. Today, CBC took some time to recall where things were, one century ago. Particularly, in Halifax. Outside of this region, mention of The Explosion merit only a confused look, or a shrug. In Nova Scotia, this date defines a city.

I’ve sampled pieces of the story (stories) through the years. The period when I lived in the Halifax area meant that I did the standard tourist trek, looking for the “hole in the window” and the “shattered steel”. I even visited the museum exhibit down by the waterfront, but like most museum moments I came away without any lesson learned.

I’m older now… the documentary this evening tied many of the loose threads together. The where, and the why; the how, not so much. Ships collide. A spark. A fire. Boom! However, learning from (recorded) first person testimonials reminded me that people are fragile. Flying glass cuts, and blinds. In particular, a child who’s last clear moment of vision was of a flash of light from down in the harbour. He survived, and grew up, and found a living as a motor mechanic who depended more on his sense of touch than the average mechanic. Watching him check the state of valves in an operating engine was a lesson that sight isn’t the only way to verify what is going on. I take that seriously.

And the next time I visit Halifax, I’ll be looking for other reminders of what happened when two ships collided.

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