This inspirational story is taken from the true story, Blizzards of Glass the Halifax Explosion of 1917 by Sally M. Walker. I share this story in my workshop “Follow in His Footsteps” because it is a beautiful example of helping those in need.
“December 6 1917, started like any other day in Halifax. Women made breakfast, men went to work, children got ready for school. But everything stopped shortly before nine o’clock that morning, when two ships collided in Halifax Harbour. One of the ships was loaded with munitions for the troops fighting in Europe; the other was preparing to collect medical supplies for the war’s victims.
The resulting disaster was the largest man-made explosion until the detonation of the atomic bomb in 1945. The blast flattened large areas of Halifax and the town across the harbor, Dartmouth. It killed nearly two thousand people. As if that wasn’t devastating enough, a blizzard hit the next day, dumping more than a foot of snow on the area and slowing much-needed relief efforts.”
One of the first to respond to this disaster was the governor of Massachusetts, Samuel McCall. Here is his letter of introduction to the mayor of Halifax. “I am sending Hon. A.C. Ratshesky of the Massachusetts Public Safety Committee, immediately to your city, with a corps of our best State surgeons and nurses, in the belief that they may be of service to you in the hour of need….We have the strongest affection for the people of your city, and…we are anxious to do everything possible for their assistance at this time…Assure them that we are ready to answer any call that they may need to make upon us.”
“By 10:00 P.M., the train, stocked with bandages, medicines, surgical equipment, twelve surgeons, ten nurses, representatives from the American Red Cross, and several newspaper reporters, rolled out of Boston” (82-83). The book goes on in detail of how these men and women assisted the survivors of this explosion. Their acts of kindness did not go unnoticed. In fact, nearly one hundred years later the people of Nova Scotia still remember and give thanks.
“And every year since 1971, in Boston, Massachusetts, the city lights a freshly cut Christmas tree that towers above Boston Common. Each year’s tree is a gift from Nova Scotia to the people of Massachusetts, in remembrance of the help they gave to a suffering city” (127-128).
Father God, help us to reach out to our friends in need both near and far. Amen.