Guest column by Elsa Nystrom
As I write this, the TV broadcasts news of a shooting at the Ft. Lauderdale Airport, perhaps 300 miles south of us in Florida. While 2016 was a year of terror for many innocent victims in Europe and the Middle East, no country, it seems, will be immune to such attacks in 2017.
This is something with which the Ramblers have had little experience. In the past, our travel delays were more likely to be caused by bad weather or equipment failure than an act of violence and/or terror. However we now live in a world of actual and virtual violence. One cannot escape acts of violence and terror even on commercial television. This makes the reality even more terrifying when we see violence broadcast on the news. And could help create a bunker mentality.
Don’t let it do so.
Last summer we had to make a decision for the first time of whether to travel to France, which had just experienced two terror attacks, or to cancel our trip. Neither of us hesitated. We would go on with our travel even though we were to spend time in the two French cities that had recently experienced terrorist activity, Paris and Rouen.
When we boarded the River Baroness in Paris, we found that the ship, which had been almost fully booked, was half empty. It would be the same on the second half of our trip, the SS Antoinette was also half empty. This was somewhat of a shock to us. We hadn’t imagined that so many people would give in to their fears.
If this Rambler gave in to her fear of flying, she would never have gotten to Europe in the first place. I am a nervous flyer, but my love of travel has always conquered any fears I might have of encountering terrorist activities or a plane crash. I expect that the United States is going to get its share of terrorist acts in the coming months and years but hopefully people will give not give in to their fears and stay at home. Of course, we all deal with our fears differently.
I must also mention that the French people we met in Normandy reiterated how grateful they were that we hadn’t stayed home, and that they would stand with us against terrorists anywhere. And of course there was a strong police and army presence in Paris, as you might expect, but not much in the rural countryside.
We have again booked a trip this coming summer, this time flying into Amsterdam, another place of terrorist activity. No doubt I will be more nervous than ever at the airport, but that won’t and shouldn’t stop me from boarding the plane.
I will try not to complain when they go over me with a fine tooth comb at security. Having both hips replaced really sets off the TSA equipment.
One of the last things I will do before leaving on a long flight, as a practicing Roman Catholic, is go to Confession. Thus shriven, I am ready to face almost anything with hope and grace.