Valdosta Daily Times

Breaking News:

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
  • Feed the hungry, adopt a duck

    If you haven’t already adopted a duck, you have a little more than a week to do so.

    April 17, 2014

  • If I were mayor

    Each year, the City of Valdosta holds an essay contest, “If I Were Mayor,” with students in the area writing their ideas about what they would do as the head of the city.

    April 16, 2014

  • The real lessons of a mock drill

    Valdosta High School’s Students Against Destructive Decisions held a powerful mock demonstration Monday morning on the school’s campus.

    April 14, 2014

  • Kudos to VPD

    Followed by a stellar report on Sunday about the drop in the crime rate in the City of Valdosta, city police officers prove their worth once again by arresting a dangerous fugitive in our community.

    April 13, 2014

  • It just plain stinks

    After every rain event, the pungent smell of sewage can be detected around the rivers and streams of south Georgia, and Florida residents brace for more to float their way.

    April 13, 2014

  • Pennsylvania school stabbings: Why?

    The following editorial appeared in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Thursday, April 10:

    April 11, 2014

  • European bans on emails unlikely in America

    Several European countries are banning work emails to employees before and after normal working hours, between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., in an effort to curb the perceived abuse of employees by corporations.

    April 11, 2014

  • Strength of character

    It was an unusual friendship — a tiny 8-year old girl with long blonde hair and the 6’10” Michigan State basketball player.

    April 10, 2014

  • Daly’s return a boost for Valdosta

    Flashy, colorful and always a hit with the fans for his long drives and humble demeanor, John Daly’s return to Kinderlou Forest and the South Georgia Classic is a boon for Valdosta.

    April 9, 2014

  • Too many pinwheels

    April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, with numerous volunteers assisting the Child Advocacy Center in placing pinwheels on the lawn of the Valdosta City Hall. Each pinwheel represents one child that was a victim of abuse in 2013. Volunteers placed 887 pinwheels in remembrance.

    April 8, 2014

Top News
Poll

What you think about school and workplace rules about Facebook friends?

There have to be rules.
No need for rules, just use common sense.
If people want to be friends, what is the big deal?
Nobody uses Facebook anymore.
     View Results