Today began with this bright and cheerful sunrise, but I knew it was going to be a somber day. February 22, 2011 marks the worst natural disaster to hit New Zealand in 80 years, claiming the lives of 180 people. I decided to approach today with caution, as i did not want to be seen as capitalizing on a grieving situation where i have not been fully present.
The mood at work was a bit grim, and rightly so. Residents of Christchurch and the whole of New Zealand have really been though a tough battle this last year. Wading through the troubling waters of insurance claims, EQC guidelines and CERA notifications. Not to mention the grief of the City falling, including the demolition of the Christchurch Cathedral, the City's icon.
Christchurch held a public memorial service that was quite touching. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton even presented a video message, which i found particularly touching.
The biggest lump in my throat was in watching my fellow coworkers celebrate the memory of a fallen comrade, who died in the February earthquake, the 40-year-old Christchurch City Council employee was helping an injured woman in a food court when an aftershock struck and rubble fell on to his neck, killing him. He posthumously received a medal of bravery today.
Witnessing the sadness that engulfed my fellow coworkers was more overwhelming than i expected, and i personally feel that are not many sadder senes than a grown and grey man crying. it just tugs at my heart strings.
I would like to say that i am very proud of what i have seen of the residents of Christchurch, trying so very hard to rebuild their City and their lives. Keep it up Christchurch, we can do it!