Monday, January 17, 2005

Australia Stops

Australia remembered those who lost their lives on Boxing Day 2004 in the tsunami tragedy, by observing a one minute silence Australia wide at 10.59am, the time the earthquake occured.
Flower petals yesterday danced on the wash of a brightly shimmering and serene Indian Ocean – the same ocean that on Boxing Day claimed the lives of 163,000 people – as thousands gathered to mark one of the worst natural disasters in living memory.As mourners stood for a minute's silence on Perth's City Beach, 3000km to the east and a continent apart more mourners stood mutely on the nation's most famous beach, Bondi.
With an ominous southerly whipping up the sand, sirens sounded and hundreds stood in silence, turning the Pacific Ocean into a vast cenotaph.
About 80 surfers joined hands in a ring of remembrance – as they did at more than 25 other beaches – while a lone surfboat, with its rowers wearing black armbands, raised oars in a silent salute to the dead.
"I hope that around the world people see this as Australians coming together on their sacred turf of Bondi Beach and saying that we are thinking about those who have lost everything," said NSW premier Bob Carr.
In Perth, mourners carpeted the foreshore with petals at the end of an hour-long service that brought together leaders of the Muslim, Sikh, Buddhist, Jewish, Hindu and Christian communities.
For Lance Boston and Lisa Downing, their own escape from a hotel room near Patong beach when the tsunami struck heightened the emotion of the occasion.
Ms Downing said she was moved to tears by the Indian Ocean location of yesterday's ceremony, which reminded her of what she had escaped.
"For me, it is hard sitting on the beach, looking at the waves here. I get flashes."
Surfrider Foundation chairman Geoff Withycombe, whose group organised the rings of remembrance, said the tragedy was particularly poignant for Australian surfers.
"A lot of surfers have been going to the places hit by the tsunami for maybe 40 or 50 years," he said. "Today was a great opportunity to grieve for the friends they have made in those places that they may never see again."


Blogger if_i_had_a_hammer said...

i met a guy who came to the states from thailand a few years ago. he was a regular customer at the comic book store i used to work at. we became pretty good friends before he moved back to thailand after completing school to be with his girlfriend and family. we e-mailed each other a few times, but i lost track of him.

after 9/11, he actually called my old co-worker (still living in new york city) at the comic book store to see if he was okay. i know thailand wasn't hit as hard as the rest of the area. i'd really like to know if he's alright; is there any way to find out?

9:47 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

Hi there Hammer. Sounds like a cool guy. Here in Australia we were given a range of phone numbers to call (just like when 9/11 occured) to check to see if those we were/are concerned about made it through the tragedy ok. Relief organisations such as Red Cross also had numbers to call to check on people. Also if you go to the tsunami blog ( it was listed on blogger dashboard) it also has valuable phone numbers to call.
Hope you find him :o)

6:23 AM  

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