Costa Concordia- One Year Later

This is Don Lorenzo, the priest of the church of Giglio. The Madonna statue you see behind him was taken off of the Concordia and gifted to the church.

Today is heavy.

Tears are falling.

A story that we are so far removed from, yet now find ourselves so entrenched. We watch the Italian news, hanging onto every word. We see the survivors and the families of those that lost their lives, returning to the island. They spill out of the ferry, swarmed by the journalists that even on this day can not give them peace.

They embrace each other, they cry, they remember that night that must seem like a lifetime ago, yet still feel like it was just yesterday. The ship still sitting there, the painful backdrop, bringing all of the fear and emotions back to the surface. We see the faces attached to a story that we have become so intimate with.

Today, Giglio Island is holding a memorial service. There will be a service in Chiesa del Giglio (Church of Giglio), the very same church that offered shelter to so many that night. It wall be led by Don Lorenzo Pasquotti, the same priest that cared for them. This morning, we read his words with sorrow and remembrance…

E’ passato un anno, un lungo anno. Ricordo il freddo di quella notte, il trambusto, i volti sperduti degli anziani, il pianto dei bambini.
Ma ricordo anche un brulicare di gente che si dava da fare, che cercava di provvedere come poteva ai bisogni di 4200 persone che si erano riversate sulla nostra isola. E che ci è sostanzialmente riuscita. E le settimane dopo…  Ricordo i famigliari dei dispersi passeggiare su e giù per il porto in attesa di risposte. Ricordo “omoni”, biondi, in tute arancioni che si affannavano a svuotare i serbatoi del gasolio (e anche tante bottiglie di birra!). Ricordo le nostre donne, intente a provvedere e a preparare il cibo per dar a tutti da mangiare. E a tener su il morale… Ricordo i nostri vecchi che al porto guardavano con occhio competente e compiacente quelli che si adoperavano per mettere in sicurezza la nave. Ricordo i sommozzatori, i militari, la Protezione Civile. Io li guardavo e pensavo alle loro famiglie… Ricordo i giornalisti, TANTI giornalisti, curiosi, talvolta invadenti, più spesso gentili, che ci facevano, però, sempre le stesse domande. Ricordo le tovaglie sventolate dai ristoranti e le sirene, quando sono partiti gli olandesi, e noi eravamo lì al traghetto a salutarli. Ricordo i turisti estivi “mordi e fuggi”, col panino in bocca e la macchina fotografica in mano. Tutti di fretta…
Ricordo tanta gente in chiesa, a pregare per i morti e per i soccorritori, a ringraziare di essere ancora in vita. A portare indietro coperte, maglioni, scarpe e perfino dolci… Ricordo amicizie fatte e legami fraterni, creatisi partendo da un momento di dolore. Ricordo la vita che voleva a tutti i costi riprendersi la sua forza. Ora siamo qui, Signore. A distanza di un anno. Questa, anche questa, è la tua umanità. Io, per quello che posso e per quello che vale, te la offro. E’ tutto quello che ho. E ti ringrazio.

Don Lorenzo Pasquotti

It ‘s been a year, a long year. I remember the cold of the night, the bustle, the lost faces of the elderly, the children crying.

But I also remember a swarm of people were busy, trying to provide as best they could to the needs of 4200 people who had spilled over our island.

An operation that was substantially successful.

Weeks later …  I remember the family of the missing walk up and down the harbor waiting for answers. I remember “big men”, blond in orange jumpsuits who tirelessly toiled to clear the diesel tanks (and so many bottles of beer).

I remember our women, intent on providing and preparing food to give to all to eat. And to keep up the morale …

I remember our own old sea men who looked with an experienced eye to the pier and obliging the workers who exerted themselves so much to secure the ship.

I remember the divers, the military, the Civil Protection. I watched them and I thought of their families …

I remember the journalists, MANY journalists, curious, sometimes intrusive, more often kind, there were, however, always the same questions.

I remember tablecloths waving from the restaurants and sirens blaring, (when the first salvage) Dutch (departed), and we were there to bid them farewell at the ferry.

Remember summer tourists “hit and run”, with the sandwich in his mouth and the camera in hand. All in a hurry …

I remember a lot of people in the church to pray for the dead and for the rescuers, to give thanks to be alive.

To bring back blankets, sweaters, shoes, and even desserts … I remember friendships made and fraternal bonds, whether created from a time of sorrow.

I remember the life wanted, at all costs to recover their strength.

Now here we are, Lord. After one year.

This, again, is your humanity. I, for what I can and for what it’s worth, I offer it.

It’s all I have. And I thank you.

 Don Lorenzo Pasquotti

 

Today, we remember those that lost their lives, one year ago.

Dayana Arlotti, 5, Italy

Maria Dintrono, Italy, 30

Sandor Feher, Hungary, 38, crew

Horst Galle, Germany

Jeanne Gannard, France

Pierre Gregoire, France

Gabriele Grube, Germany

Guillermo Gual, Spain, 68

Egon Hoer, Germany

Giovanni Masia, Italy, 85

Thomas Alberto Costilla Mendoza, Peru, crew

Jean-Pierre Micheaud, France, 61

Erika Fani Soria Molina, Peru, 25, crew

Inge Schall, Germany

Francis Servil, France, 71

Luisa Antonia Virzi, Italy

Josef Werp, Germany

Siglinde Stumpf, Germany

William M. Arlotti, Italy

Elisabeth Bauer, Germany

Michael M. Blemand, France

Christina Mathi Ganz, Germany

Norbert Josef Ganz, Germany

Girolamo Giuseppe, Italy, crew

Barbara Heil, United States

Gerald Heil, United States

Mylene Litzler, France

Margarethe Neth, Germany

Russel Terence Rebello, India, crew

Margrit Schroeter, Germany

Maria Grazia Trecarichi, Italy

Brunhild Werp, Germany

 

Sending love and prayers to all of you,

Laurel and Tommaso

 

 

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8 Responses to Costa Concordia- One Year Later

  1. Tracy January 13, 2013 at 2:52 PM #

    moving, very moving. Thank you for sharing this. Prayers and love sent out.

    • laurelp January 29, 2013 at 3:32 AM #

      Thank you so much, Tracy.

  2. wandering educators January 13, 2013 at 5:56 PM #

    amazing, beautiful. oh i can’t wait until your book comes out!

    • laurelp January 29, 2013 at 3:32 AM #

      Me too! Looking forward to getting back to the island too!

  3. memographer January 18, 2013 at 6:19 PM #

    The Day of Sorrow and Remembrance. Thanks for sharing.

    • laurelp January 29, 2013 at 3:33 AM #

      Indeed. Thank you for your comment.

  4. Siti Torrent January 28, 2013 at 6:38 PM #

    Ottimo Articolo. Grazie Mille.

    • laurelp January 29, 2013 at 3:33 AM #

      Grazie, Siti.

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