Yesterday afternoon I paused to watch the live TV coverage of the memorial service from Christchurch. It was a year to the day since the second major earthquake, the one that killed nearly 200 people and destroyed a fair percentage of the city. It was a sad, sombre and fitting service. One statistic that gave me pause for thought was that over 6000 people were injured. Because of the nature of the event, falling masonry, collapsing buildings, roads opening up, you know that some of those injuries are going to be crush injuries, spinal injuries, amputations etc.
It’s a bit like the road toll, statisticians focus on the fatalities but every year thousands of people are left maimed and broken for life as a result of car accidents. Perhaps some of the social engineering advertising should focus on the possibility of staying alive, with a life sentence of a head or spinal injury.
Yesterday also raised the interesting question of why are some people heroic and others, not? What makes a person climb a ladder and rescue 15 people while the aftershocks roll through? Some people went into falling buildings and died during aftershocks. What makes you ignore the natural self-preservation instinct and go to help others? I suspect you have no idea how you will react in these situations until you find yourself in the middle of one.
In any event, we’ve had more than our fair share over the past 18 months, earthquakes, floods, a mining disaster, a hot air ballooning tragedy and through it all, we just keep soldiering on.
Speaking of soldiering on, we had the last episode of the Military Wives Choir on UKTV last night. A choir of the wives of serving military men sang at the Royal Albert Hall. It was lovely, the song was gorgeous and you just want to give Gareth Malone a hug and tell him he gives music a truly good name. Gareth, you’re a hero in my book.
And now something ironic to cheer you all up….