This was a terrible week. It just goes to show we are only along for the ride. None of us knows what life will bring. Spiritually, the only thing we have is today. We have all our yesterdays, some more than others, and most of us have plenty of tomorrows. But there is not one of us who has the knowledge that this day might be our last. For seven sailors aboard the USS Fitzgerald, they discovered that truth at 2:30 on Saturday morning.
The collision heavily damaged the berthing quarters of the ship, including the commanding officer’s stateroom. The Navy reported seven sailors missing after the collision. For those who do not know what happens in such a situation, here is a basic lesson about life at sea on a naval vessel.
General quarters sounded. Either just before the collision or right after. The next thing that occurs is the mustering of all hands. Every sailor reports to their supervisor in their shop. In turn, they report the names of anyone missing to the division officers. This happens simultaneously throughout the ship in all the divisions. The executive officer has the reports in his hands within five minutes. This is how they knew seven sailors were missing so quickly.
The search began next, almost immediately. Aircraft and surface vessels began searching the seas in the area of the collision looking for anyone knocked overboard or fallen into the sea after the collision. Aboard the Fitzgerald, sailors began assessing damage and looking for their shipmates.
Unfortunately, they found the remains of their fellow sailors still in the berthing compartments.
Today, seven families grieve. Please think of them and offer your prayers for their loved ones.
And here is something else we, the living, should do. We need to live our lives as best we can today. We have made our mistakes of yesterday, but let’s not make more of the same mistakes today. And let’s try to make all our tomorrows better than today.
And please, honor all those who work or who have served, in keeping us safe in this world.
©2017 J. Clark
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