Friday, March 13, 2015

Reflections of Ireland

Source:  Irish Mirror front page September 13, 2001
September 11, 2001

The Day That Changed
The World Forever
Those words from this gripping image in the Irish Mirror sum things up for us the best.   Three hours after the first plane struck the World Trade Center, we would see an immediate difference.

As with all historic events, one remembers where they were when they heard the news. Our vantage point for the tragic events of 9/11 was Paris, France.   We had just departed on a Transatlantic Cruise onboard the Norwegian Sun.   It was it's maiden voyage which left from Southampton, England the day before.   

We had spent a wonderful day in Paris, about three hours from where our ship docked in LeHarve, France.   We toured the city, had lunch onboard a river boat, and did some shopping before returning to our bus for the return to the ship.   The bus driver, who spoke only French, tried to tell us about the events by motioning with his hands (showing a plane crashing).  Of course, we had no idea what he was trying to tell us.   Someone got him to change the radio station and finally a reporter speaking in English broke the news to us.

Arriving in Ireland

Flags of Ireland following attacks
On September 13th, we arrived in our first port of call following the attacks.  Arriving early in Cobh, Ireland, we departed for our scheduled shore tour.  Our tour guide began the introductions by expressing condolences about the attacks.  At the conclusion of our tour, we had some time for shopping near the ship.    We purchased the Irish Mirror newspaper where we learned of an entirely different perspective on the attacks.

Source:  Irish Mirror September 13, 2001
Ruth McCourt, 45, was taking her daughter, Juliana, age 4, on a shopping trip from Boston to Los Angeles.   Their flight was one of the hijacked planes that struck the World Trade Center.  Meanwhile, Ruth's brother, Ronnie Clifford, an architect, was helping to rescue victims from the earlier attack.   He was unaware that above his head his sister and niece were perishing in the flames.

Here in Co Cork, the rest of the family was attempting to deal with the news of the tragedy that struck their family.     After reading this story in the newspaper, we were aware of how far reaching this tragedy really was.

An Irish gentleman approached us as we returned to the ship.   He said "You are Americans, aren't you".  We replied that we were.   His response was, "You'll get those B...ds".    At that moment in time, we were united with the rest of the world, from government officials, to the man on the streets, the world was one in convictions that those responsible had to be held accountable.

Ireland Day of Mourning ... Schools, offices, and businesses across Ireland closed on Friday, September 14th for a national day of mourning.  The Irish Mirror  reported "Ireland will weep for America tomorrow as the nation remembers the innocent dead".

Continuing our Path of the Vikings Journey

Source: The Scottish SUN September 15, 2001
Just being with Scots who care has helped so much...

We arrived in Greenock (Glasgow), Scotland on September 15th, and once again were greeted by sympathetic locals.   Inaugural festivities, upon the first visit of Norwegian Sun to Scotland, did take place, but they were  low key.

That newspaper headline in The Scottish SUN reflected the sentiments of an American mother and daughter who were amongst the crowd paying respects at Glasgow's George Square as similar mourning events were held across the globe.   In London, thousands gathered outside St. Paul's Cathedral for England's memorial.

Our day in Scotland was a rainy one, perhaps fitting considering the earlier events of the week.   The people were wonderful and we enjoyed our stay despite the tragedy that underscored the entire voyage.

Throughout the remaining days of the Path of the Vikings voyage we encountered similar scenes to those in Ireland and Scotland, where flags were at half-mast, the people were caring and sympathetic, and comforted us during this very emotional time.    This cruise will always be remembered, not because it was the most exotic or most picturesque, but for the one with the people with the warmest hearts.   

We will also remember the Captain and Crew of the Norwegian Sun who stepped up to the challenges and helped the passengers through this difficult time.  Norwegian Cruise Line definitely went above and beyond when they opened up the phone lines and internet twice during the voyage and rearranged all the transportation for guests since our final destination was changed from New York to Boston.

See our Facebook Page for more Pictures from our Path of the Vikings Cruise - Including more 9/11 reflections.   While you are there, Like Us so that you can continue to follow our specials and stories.

Since #FriFotos is featuring #IRELAND today, we wanted to reflect on how the people there helped us through a tough time.

No comments: