Valdosta Daily Times

What We Think

February 22, 2013

Of ships and hardships

VALDOSTA — Our nation’s history and lore are built on the stories of men, women and children sailing across oceans to reach American shores.

From Christopher Columbus’ misguided belief that he discovered a new route to the West Indies to the Pilgrims’ arrival on the Mayflower to the tragedy of Africans being brought to the New World in chains to the huddled masses arriving on Ellis Island, American history is writ large with the hardships endured at sea.

These journeys lasted weeks, even months. People often stayed together in steerage. They contracted illnesses. Without benefit of 21st century meteorological capabilities, they endured sudden storms. Many died en route and were buried at sea. Ships sank to the bottom of the ocean.

But even more survived these hardships. For good or bad, they traveled from the life they knew to the unknown in a new nation.

Many modern Americans are the descendants of such sturdy souls, but it’s hard recalling this history based on the histrionics of those passengers trapped a few days at sea aboard the disabled luxury cruise liner Carnival Triumph.

For five days, the cruise ship’s 4,200 passengers and crew were adrift without electrical power or working toilets. It certainly sounded like a miserable journey for folks expecting a sunny pleasure cruise.

And there’s the rub. The cruise ship passengers were not expecting a perilous journey for a new life in a new land. They took a vacation. Some of the passengers likely saved for months or even years to take a dream cruise. They had a reasonable expectation that their dreams would come true.

Given our modern times, they had a reasonable expectation that the cruise line would have contingency plans better than being slowly tugged ashore over a period of days on a powerless vessel.

Though miserable, no one died aboard the ship, but what if this situation occurred in the midst of hurricane season? What would have been the cruise line’s response if the ship had been adrift in the path of a Hurricane Sandy or a Hurricane Katrina?

These and other questions must be asked, but this instance should also remind us that there are no guarantees in life. When we seek adventure, we may find real adventure.

If such adventure diverts our pleasurable and comfortable plans, we should recall the travels of our ancestors who took far more harrowing sea journeys at a time when the only electricity was lightning perilously flashing across a stormy sky.

1
Text Only
What We Think
  • Vote to remove signs

    Congratulations to the winners in the primary runoff election Tuesday.

    July 23, 2014

  • Runoff election counts today

    Today is an election day that started just a little more than two months ago.

    July 21, 2014

  • PSST! Only one week left

    Peach State Summer Theatre enters its final week of performances for the 2014 season. This means there are only a few more opportunities left to see “Mary Poppins,” “Smokey Joe’s Cafe,” and “42nd Street.”

    July 20, 2014

  • The wisdom of animals

    Animals may be smarter than us. If you don’t think so take a look at how we humans deal with the oppressive heat of summer. Compare our activities with those of animals.

    July 19, 2014

  • Welcoming home the ‘Unseen Project’

    Two months ago, they embarked on an ambitious endeavor: Two friends, riding on motorcycles criss-crossing the United States, followed by a film crew, on a faith-based tour to find America the Unseen.

    July 17, 2014

  • A downtown church’s faith

    First Baptist Church made a leap of faith this past weekend.

    July 16, 2014

  • Overpass has double potential

    They say it will be here sooner than we think.

    July 16, 2014

  • Precautions for what’s left of summer

    Summer is a time of rest, vacations and trips. It is a time when school is out, when people take time off from work, when people may stay out a little later. It is a time of swimming, trying new things, and seeking adventure.

    July 14, 2014

  • Golf tourney battles cancer

    Battling cancer seems a never-ending war. Yet, for anyone who has ever had cancer, for anyone who has a friend or relative who has struggled against cancer, it is a battle worth waging.

    July 13, 2014

  • Valdosta: Time for a hard look

    Last week was a tough one for Valdosta. A national survey named Valdosta as the nation’s fastest-shrinking city. A report listed Valdosta State Prison in a three-way tie for the state’s second most violent prison.

    July 12, 2014

Top News
Poll

School starts again in about two weeks. What do you think?

It's still summer. School starts too soon.
Seems like the right time to return.
Abolish summer recess. Make school year-round.
     View Results