A fallen dream: the end of commercial airships ~ part 1 Introduction

Quick note: The essay will be posted in 9-10 parts about every other day.

 One by one the windows were opened and the people arose from softly upholstered orange chairs. A man showed his three children how far they had come from Frankfurt to New York on the skillfully painted pastel mural of the world on the far side of the lounge. Then, the dirty tops of skyscrapers, one rising above the rest, appeared from out of the clouds. The passengers waved to the visitors of the great building, then pointed towards the parks, the tall statue jutting out of the glimmering harbor, and, below them to the sleek Queen Mary, her three red and black funnels sparkling, pulling into her Cunard pier, before returning to their seats. 

They were seven hours overdue but they did not notice. They were travelling on the most modern ship on the planet. Not one of them could have even thought that mere hours after the accusing red flags emblazoned boldly onto the tail fins of the silvery craft slipped back into the heavy evening mist, that they would be running for their lives as the dreams of a world that felt it had conquered the air in ships, so long the stuff of the imagination, disappeared with the Hindenburg in the flash of a hydrogen inferno. In the sharp reality of the following days, through the shock and the still smoking wreckage, the dream was ending and the world, far from the wondrous fascination it had felt for the majestic Zeppelins, was waking up to the cold horror of what had gone so desperately wrong, for the disaster at Lakehurst on that day was but the last spark in a slow burning fire. 


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