Monday, April 30, 2012

A Testament To Human Will

Every Saturday night my partner and I attend a party at Drama Libre in Second Life. These parties are unique in that the owners build a new set each week and people dress to the theme.

This past Saturday the theme was The Lusitania, the passenger ship that was sunk by German U-Boats during World War I. It was the event that propelled the USA toward joining the war as 114 Americans were killed in  the attack.

A total of 1119 of the 1,924 aboard died. It was a horrific act perpetrated against civilians and while there were reasons for Germany to consider the Lusitania to be a military target, such as it being refit for guns and ready to convert to military use if needed by Great Britain and that she was carrying war materials in her holds, they had to know that at the time of the attack the ship was carrying a compliment of non combatants.

It took a total of 18 minutes for the ship to sink. Very little time to launch life boats or try and save oneself. But even with this little window of time people stepped up and tried to save others.

In the ship's nursery Alfred Vanderbilt, one of the world's richest men, and playwright Carl Frohman tied life jackets to wicker "Moses baskets" holding infants in an attempt to save them from going down with the ship. The rising water carried the baskets off the ship but none survived the turbulence created as the ship sank to the bottom. The sea also claimed Vanderbilt and Frohman.

These men, and I am sure many others, had to know that stopping to help anyone was most likely signing their own death certificates. But they did it anyway. I have always been in awe of people that sacrifice in this manner. I wonder if I am a good enough person to have done what they did. Hopefully I will never be given the opportunity to find out.

Good people do great things when circumstances present with difficult choices.

"Bravery is the capacity to perform even when scared half to death."~~Omar N. Bradley

May 7 is the anniversary of the sinking of the Lusitania in 1915.


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