The following article was first published by The Christian Science Monitor. You can read and share it HERE.
Each year since 1971, the people of Nova Scotia have gifted Boston a majestic Christmas tree. The annual tree lighting in the Boston Common attracts thousands, although not all are familiar with the history behind the gift.
Canada’s generosity is attached to a century-old thank-you for Boston’s first response to a disaster some have compared to the scale of 9/11. In December 1917, two cargo ships collided in Halifax Harbor, one a French cargo ship carrying explosives, which resulted in the largest man-made explosion prior to the atomic bomb. Waves of responders soon came to our Canadian neighbors’ aid. In fact, one of the first trains to arrive was one commissioned by The Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston. It carried warm clothing and monetary aid, as well as transporting Red Cross supplies, doctors and nurses, and others ready to contribute to the relief efforts. Strained relations between Canada and the United States at the time were dramatically improved because of the US response to the tragedy.
This spirit of neighbors helping neighbors has certainly been a theme this year as our global community witnessed first responders to large-scale disasters resulting from hurricanes, fires, and earthquakes. Many were displaced from their homes, in need of food and shelter, and above all comfort and hope for a brighter future.