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One night many years ago I was on the bridge of a ship that passed one of our large cities on aquiet night. I saw its lights reflected in the sky and heard the rumblings of the city’s noises.
As I looked to my other side, I could see nothing but open space of darkness and endlesswater. I realized how small I was and that my own problems of life did not seem great.
I have spent twenty five years on boats. Now I am a docking pilot. My job is to bring in thelarge luxury liners and stay with them until they are safely moored in their berths. Sometimesthis requires two tugs, sometimes many more, depending on the tide, the weather, and thedraft of the vessel.
Most of you no doubt have seen these tugs pushing and pulling at the big liners. What they aredoing doesn’t seem to make much sense, but presently the big boat is alongside her pier, herhawsers made fast, and the job is done.
These tugs, whether one or ten, move about in accord with whistle signals I send them fromthe bridge of the big liner. These signals make up a language that is just as dependable as thespoken word; or even more so, because our docking signals are rarely misunderstood.
The captain of each tug does his work according to the signals he receives. He never asksquestions. He takes everything on faith, and it always works out.
Working around tugboats, where so much depends on teamwork, has had its effect on what Ibelieve. I believe that if I am to attain a successful place in the world I must have the help of myfellow man just as the great transatlantic liners depend on the help of the little tugs to bringthem safely to port.
I felt very important the first time I ever docked a big liner. She came riding up the harbor on aflood tide and towered high over the stout little tug that carried me. As we drew alongside, adoorway opened almost at water level and two smartly rigged sailors helped me aboard.
I was escorted to the bridge where I took over from the captain. I realized I was in control of agreat ship worth millions of dollars and the owners were depending on me to bring her safely toher berth. After I had docked several of the large liners, I realized I was not important, butsimply the quarterback who called the signals.
In spite of what we read in the newspapers, I have a great faith in this country and I pray thata peaceful understanding will come to this unsettled world, so that my children can grow up ina world that will give them happiness instead of bloodshed. I believe this will come about.
I remember the understanding and sympathy that took over this country, back in 1949, whena little girl named Kathy Fiskus fell into an abandoned well out in California. Engineers andsandhogs and people in all walks of life worked almost three days, and when they got her outshe was dead.
People sent in thousands of dollars in rescue funds, but those who did the work and furnishedthe equipment wouldn’t take money. They worked for bigger stakes. I talked to captains offoreign ships that came into New York Harbor, and they were just as concerned as weAmericans over the tragedy.
I believe some way will be found to work together for world peace with the same sympathy andunderstanding that people worked to rescue little Kathy Fiskus. I believe God will somedaybring this about.