Over the past few months, I’ve been delighted to receive an increasing number of visitor comments. What has been particularly interesting to me is the number of people who have written to say that their ancestors or their neighbours or their friends were victims of a particular disaster (see, for example, the posts about the 1917 New Waterford mining disaster here and the posts about the Sir Echo here). These posts provide me with a valuable reminder that disasters are not just news items. Rather, they involve the loss of people much loved by family and friends who are never forgotten. The loss of beloved people and the severing of relationships is what makes a disaster so tragic.
I am curious: for those of you who knew people (or are descended from people) who died in a disaster, what is it like to find one or more songs about that disaster? Does it make you happy to know that there is a song about it? Are you inspired to learn and sing the song? Does a song bring back memories and, if so, are they painful or happy? Or is it strange to find a song that you perhaps never knew existed, even though it’s about an event that has significant personal meaning? Or perhaps it’s just an interesting fact?
Is there a difference in reactions between those who remember an actual disaster event and were personally affected by the loss of a loved one, and those who have learned about a disaster through family lore or through genealogical research? In the latter case, people may never have known a disaster victim but have learned about him (or her) from other family members. In the former case, the experience of loss is personal, direct, and perhaps still painful.