Long ago, relatively speaking, I ventured to Lakehurst Naval Air Station in New Jersey. This was way back around 1982...45 years after the Hindenburg exploded, killing 35 people on board and one on the ground. Sixty-two passengers and crew survived that horrific day the 6th of May, 1937.
Who can't forget the words of radio broadcaster, Herbert Morrison, who uttered that all too repeated phrase..."Oh, the humanity". It's even been spoofed by Jim Carrey in The Grinch...the "Who-manity". Cute...but once you heard those tear-laden words coming out of Morrison's mouth...broadcasting as it happened, literally only feet away, you can't really find too much funny in it. At least I can't.
When I drove into Lakehurst, my one and only time going there...my husband-to-be's Air Force access giving us free reign to drive around in reckless abandon...and abandoned there was. Abandoned aircraft strewn across the tarmac...just dragged and left there after so many dogfights...cockpits riddled with bullet-holes, unknown names of the pilots and pin-up girls' likenesses scrolled on the exterior. Just skeletons, left to decompose further in the hot Jersey sun...like toys tossed about in some giant sandbox.
And then there's the Hindenburg's crash site.
A faint burnt area was still visible back in 1982. I remotely remember a tiny marker of some sort then. But that was all.
I couldn't believe it...nothing more than an insignificant sign in the middle of that vast expanse of flightline. No pilgrimages of people standing in line to view it...no prominent signs pointing to it...like a cattle skull in the desert...that's it.
A simple plaque now commemorates the spot (50 years after the fact) with about as many words on it as the number of people who died that fateful day.
I'm saying this because of a couple reasons...which you may or may not agree with. First, of course, it's the 70th anniversary of the Hindenburg explosion. Also, I just read that they are wondering what to do with Norris Hall where most of Virginia Tech's students and professors tragically lost their lives. Should they raze it? Should they build a monument? Should they just clean it up and put in a fitting memorial?
I just can't help but reflect and wonder what difference it would have made to the families of the Hindenburg victims had they done something other than what they did back then. Would it even have made a difference? And, unfortunately, how many more such tributes and plaques must there be built?
A Bit About Me
- Mariann Simms
- Along with my daily duties as founder and head writer of HumorMeOnline.com, in 2003, I took the Grand Prize in the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest (also known as the "It Was a Dark and Stormy Night" competition). I've also been a contributor to "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" and the web's "The Late Show with David Letterman". I also occupy my time writing three blogs, "Blogged Down at the Moment", "Brit Word of the Day" and "Production Numbers"...and my off-time is spent contemplating in an "on again/off again" fashion...my feable attempts at writing any one of a dozen books. I would love to write professionally one day...and by that I mean "actually get a paycheck".