The Tragedy in Norway.

The tragedy in Norway last month touched Bayshore Guest Home & Gardens deeply and on several levels.  Everyone who saw media coverage of the horrific killings of teenagers and adults alike had to be shocked and saddened. At Bayshore, though, our owner, Monica Dowhan, had family ties to Oslo. It struck her at a personal level.

And, as an assisted living facility, Bayshore is very much aware of the vital role played by first responders in emergency situations. We feel we are very, very fortunate to be in the coverage area of excellent first responders.

Finally, the Norway attacks occurred as our own nation is approaching the tenth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Next month’s anniversary will cause us, as a nation, to reflect on a dark and sad day in our history, but at the same time cause us to be grateful for the people who are willing to put themselves in harm’s way to protect us on such occasions.

That is why I would like to pay tribute to all the firefighters and other first responders who risk their lives regularly to protect us. They respond not only to catastrophic situations but also to less serious, everyday occurrences

I would encourage everyone to take a moment to thank a police officer, a firefighter, or someone in the emergency medical service for their willingness to use their expertise in life-or-death situations.

The events in Norway reminded us, once again, that large-scale tragedies will occur. The attacks were especially shocking because they occurred in a nation long associated with peace.

With that in mind, I asked our owner for her thoughts on the tragedy.

Monica, how did this attack in Norway change the lives of citizens, and security?

I grew up in Norway, historically a very quiet place in the world.

Nothing ever happened in Norway. The police generally did not carry guns. People were not afraid to walk in the cities, even late at night.

This is a place where baby carriages with sleeping children line the outside of stores and restaurants. Their parents go into the stores to shop or into the restaurants to get something to eat, and let their babies rest outside in the carriages in the fresh air.

This tells us a lot about the trusting Norwegian society in comparison to most of the world. It is a very protective society and it has been shattered to the core.

For me, when the terror actions happened on Friday, July 22, it felt a lot like Sept. 11, 2001.
Most people in Norway cannot comprehend what happened in their country. It was a very shocking and sad day for Norway, and it will unfortunately change this trusting society.

Our hearts and prayers are with the people of Norway in their sorrow and grief as they seek peace with what occurred.

These brutal acts of violence change the dynamic of a society. They shake us out of a natural sense of innocence. They are incomprehensible.

As we approach the tenth anniversary of 9-11 with the Norway tragedy fresh in our minds, I decided to ask a local first responder – someone who was still in middle school when 9-11 occurred – for his thoughts.

What were your thoughts when you heard about the attacks in Norway, in terms of emergency response professionals and their importance to the public?

It brought back devastation that was similar to the terrorist attacks of 9-11. The emergency responders and the public all must have had the feelings of shock and horror like 9-11 in the U.S.

The need for emergency personnel is sometimes taken for granted, until unthinkable acts like this occur.

We agree.

Bayshore has built a strong relationship with the Nokomis Volunteer Fire Department. Members of the department have been very professional when they have responded to our facility because of medical emergencies. Their presence has been reassuring to our residents.

We thank them.

In the days after 9-11, many people would stop and thank first responders when they saw them in public. That, unfortunately, has waned. We sometimes forget in our hectic lives that they work in life-and-death situations to benefit us all.

Let us use the recent tragedy in Norway and the upcoming anniversary of our own national tragedy to remember the importance of our first responders.

Thank one today!


Leslie Ann O'Gorman D'Harcourt

August 5th

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