Thursday, December 2, 2010
New Zealand falls into quietness
New Zealand went silent for two minutes today as the Coasters remembered their 29 dead miners.
The country held a communal two minutes of silence today. Offices went quiet. People stopped in the streets. Public transportation and courier companies pulled over to the side of the roads. In Christchurch, construction workers repairing earthquake damage put down their tools and the always-busy Cathedral square paused as if frozen. Even the Diamond Harbor ferries in Lyttleton turned off their engines.
The capital went eerily quiet as TV screens showed the pictures of the men who are still buried deep in a mountain that is on fire.
Thousands came to a racetrack in Greymouth to mourn. The families of each of the miners decorated a memorial table with items belonging to the missing. They were heartbreaking to behold, the little samples of lives no longer lived. For almost two weeks those miners have been the Pike River 29 to those who did not know them. Those tables made individuals of them to the outside world.
And the flags flew at half staff one more time in a country that is, indeed, united in mourning.