Galveston’s “Place of Remembrance” statue helps keep me in check often. I have problems in my life, we all do, but this statue makes my issues seem insignificant and gives me strength when I’m doubting everything I do. This statue by 4th generation Galvestonian artist, David Moore, was dedicated on September 9, 2000 in memory of the 10,000 plus victims lost at sea during the Galveston hurricane of September 8, 1900. I admire its beauty. I admire its presence. I admire its power. Of those 10,000+ islanders who lost their lives…at sea, 90 of the 93 orphans, and 10 of the nuns that protected them at the St. Mary’s Orphan Asylum in Galveston, didn’t make it. Three babies lived. Only 3.
The statue portrays a family battling the storm. The father, holding one arm up to the gods and the other around his wife while she holds, comforts, and protects her baby…well, it gets me every time. This family shows strength. I admire and respect them. I hope they made it.
Then I think of those 90 babies that didn’t even have families. Ninety babies..lost at sea…with no families to love or mourn them. The nuns sang to them to console them, but where were their mothers to hold and protect them? Where were their fathers? I have a hard time processing this, so I often don’t. But the statue gives me strength in my personal times of weakness. It reminds me that we should appreciate the time we have here on this earth, with our families. And then it reminds me that life is fragile, and only 3 orphans survived on that fateful day and I hold my babies, no matter how difficult they are being, just a little bit tighter.
And my babies feel this statue’s power, too, apparently. Every time we visit, they run to the statue, they climb up, and they seem to whisper to it. Do they whisper to the mom (me) and encourage her to just keep protecting her baby from the storms? Do they whisper to the baby (them) and just assure him everything will be alright no matter what because his parents have his back? Or do they simply stand up there and giggle between themselves about nothing at all? I don’t know. I don’t ask. I choose to believe that they feel the strength and encouragement that the statue, the history, the resiliency has to offer. I hope they never tell me otherwise.
This statue, this island, stands tall and proud as a reminder that family, community, can make it through destruction and adversity. I’m so proud to call this island my home and I’m thankful that reminders like the “Place of Remembrance” are here to keep me in check and remind me how much my family, life, really matters to me.