Memorial

‘A story of a community that lived on’: Remembering the Halifax Explosion

Ceremony marks 99 years since devastating explosion in harbour

People pray for the victims.   Lu Xu

People came together at Fort Needham Memorial Park Tuesday morning to commemorate the Halifax Explosion that happened 99 years ago.

The official service included memorial prayers, a moment of silence and official remarks by Mayor Savage and Coun. Lindell Smith.

Some of those in attendance had family members who experienced the disaster, including Michael Richard Murphy, son of Walter Thomas Murphy. Walter Murphy lived in the north end of Halifax, one of the most destroyed areas following the explosion.

“Dad remembered that they had to cope with the explosion immediately, then a day after that there was a great blizzard that delayed some of the relief that happened immediately afterward,” said Murphy.

Michael Murphy said his family has a long history of living in the north end of Halifax.   Lu Xu

Being one of the closest cities to Halifax, the city of Boston sent doctors and nurses to help with the relief. Mayor Mike Savage mentioned this relief assistance in his speech, noting the generosity the city received from different organizations around the world.

“This is a story of (a) terrible loss of life for the people in Halifax, but it is also a story of a community that lived on, of survivors and heroes, and those who rebuilt the city,” he said.

Smith talked about the aftermath too.

“Remember those who suffered after the explosion; remember those who responded and gave (to) our community,” Smith said.

Savage said he was in Boston last week for their Christmas Tree lighting and told the crowd that Boston would be part of the 100th anniversary of the Halifax Explosion as well.

Preparation for the 100th anniversary is under way and will include changes to Fort Needham. Plans include an enhanced commemorative event and a new staircase that would lead from Richmond Street to the memorial Bell Tower.

The explosion occurred when two ships, the Mont-Blanc which carried munitions, and relief ship Imo collided in The Narrows of the Halifax Harbour. Approximately 2,000 people died.