There are events, deeply personal, that stay with you. These may be rather insignificant to others, but to you they are pivotal. A tiny prompt such as a snippet of a song or a chance fragrance on the breeze may call to mind a first kiss, an award, or a million other things may fill your nostalgic heart with joy. The darker emotions too can be raised as well, and anniversaries of the death of a loved one, or other personal tragedy may come unwanted at intervals into your life. These each are our individual but shared lot
The shared impact of mutual experience also stays with us collectively. There are those “where were you when?” moments that seem to unite us. In my life there have been several. I was alive when JFK was assassinated, though I was too young to actually recall it. I do however remember the death of ML King and the unrest that followed; the space shuttle Challenger explosion and the shock of it on the faces of those around me; the death of Diana and the rush of several of my friends and family to London to be part of the collective loss. I can recall vividly my headteacher coming into my classroom to tell me of the 9-11 attacks and the television images of a world in horror. Now, today tens if not hundreds of thousands of people, many of whom have queued for nearly a full day will gather for the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II. Her death is one of those defining moments as well, an event that stays with you.
The Titanic museum in Belfast is an excellent experience. The exhibit is highly detailed and takes you through the history and building of the famous ship.
The “Experience” is £21.50 per adult and there is an additional fee for an audio guide. The headset commentary, however, is wonderful and well worth the extra. Note the headsets help keep you on track through the exhibit, some visitors without this resource tracked back on themselves despite the “rope” on the floor showing the way.
The upper floor gives a view of the construction area and gives a context to the vessel’s size.
This is a huge museum with lots of walking, though mobility scooters and benches, and lifts are available. Highly recommended!
Conflict seems to be a situation that humanity has a hard time avoiding. Jesus said there would be wars and rumours of wars, and that is manifested again and again even in our “enlightened” modern era. What we have tried to do is negotiate resolutions to those conflicts and where necessary “help the process along.” I have friends that have been part of that process (whether for good or for bad) as “Peacekeepers.” They served in Beirut and in Bosnia respectively, and it seems the experience has left more of a mark on them, than they let on those lands.
There have been successes I am sure, but it is the struggles (if not failures) that capture our attention. Below are links to the trailers for three films in which the story of the “Peacekeepers” is given. While they may not be totally accurate in historical terms, they do give an insight.
The first is about the 1961 UN intervention in the Congo, which involved Irish (and other) UN troops.
The United Nations again intervened in the civil war and ethnic cleansing that followed the collapse of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s. It gives a representation of the trials of British UN Peacekeepers in that intervention.
The UN and later the US in support of the UN entered Somalia at approximately the same time as the events in Bosnia. Black Hawk Down tells some of that story.
Hopefully there will come a day when we don’t need military intervention to find “peace.”
My wife and I made a pit-stop on our return journey home from Bournemouth in order to visit Stonehenge. It was a cloudy but dry day and had just enough springtime warmth to make the outdoor stop enjoyable.
It had been twenty years since my last visit to Stonehenge. Previously we had parked in a grassy field and bought tickets from a kiosk only a short walk from the stones. When we visited yesterday, we found a paved car park (£5 to park but refunded with ticket – free with our blue badge) and a modern visitor centre with cafe, toilets, and a reconstructed village as imagined from the time period of the construction of the circle. The queue was a bit long for tickets (£20 ticket for seniors), though the annual membership and pre-order lines went faster. As the “new” centre is further from the stones there is more of a walk, though a shuttle bus also is available. The place remains iconic, scenic, and educational.
Wheelchairs are available on site, and the paths are level enough to make decent progress with a walker or said wheel chairs. The shuttle is recommended for those with mobility needs.
There are also a number of benches and picnic tables near the visitor centre.