Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Hands Across the Bridge

Monday was the annual "Hands Across the Bridge" event in many cities across the US. This was the first year I had heard about it and decided to participate in honor of my friend G, who died earlier this year and for another friend that lives in the building here. G was a recovered alcoholic for the past 7 years and H for much longer.

We gathered at Esther Short Park in downtown and heard speeches and words of praise and encouragement for the former alcohol and drug abusers. There were old people and young people paricipating, along with their families. On the way to the park, I met a girl on the bus who was headed that way so I showed her where the park was and we were there just a few minutes when she met a friend that was also a former alcoholic and they went off together. She said she had been clean for 64 DAYS!

This view is looking back towards Washington state. Before long, this pedestran bridge will be filled with people from Washington and Oregon that are either recovering alcoholics or recoveringdrug abusers. Their friends were there also. I was there as a friend. The entire celebration was put together by members of this group who are in recovery.
I had to take a photo of the fishing pier which is no longer accessible to the general public as it is in disrepair and dangerous to use.

This is a photo of the Columbia River looking east. Usually, one can see Mt. Hood in Oregon from this view but we had too many clouds after a horrendous rain storm yesterday. By 1:30 PM, the clouds moved out and revealed a beautiful blue sky that had been hiding and waiting to make its appearance for this special day to celebrate with those in recovery.

The Portland Airport is on the shores to the south of the Columbia River so, naturally, several planes flew over on their flight plan. I wonder how they felt seeing all those people on the bridge holding hands?

Before we gathered on the bridge,the Mayor was there and gave a speech and congratulated each and every one for their perseverance in the program. There were lots of encouraging words from several speakers. The thing I was most impressed learning is that these alcohol and drug abusers were once denied the right to vote but have regained that right and a speaker encouraged them to get registered at a booth at the rally. We had the pre- election last month and several local seats are up for grabs in November.

Looking towards Portland.

Here in Vancouver and across the bridge in Portland, former alcoholics and drug abusers and their supporters met at Esther Short Park and Jantzen Beach for speeches before proceeding a few blocks to the entrance to the I-5 bridge which spans the Columbia River between Vancouver, Washington and Portland, Oregon. At 12:00 noon, the Tidewater Barge Line sounded their horn and we all held hands while the people participating that were in recovery from their former bad habits recitied the pledge they say at all meetings. It was impressive!

This sign and the next two are on both ends of the I-5 bridge. CLICK on them to read better. They are planning to tear down this old bridge and build a super highway bridge for cars, bicyckles, pedestrains and light rail. Both states are working on it. I will miss the old bridge when it is gone. I have only crossed it sicne 1985 but it has a warm spot in my heart becuase of the many walking trips I made walking over it to Jantzen Beach Shopping Center.

This last photo is looking back towards Washington and seeing the promises of blue skies for the concerts happening during the remainder of this event at the park. The puddle was there to remind me that the people in this event had a problem but there is sunshine in their futures as they participate in this event that supports each other and acknowledges they are worth something after all!


Barb said...

Very interesting way to commemorate recovery from addiction. I like that it's out of doors and involves the support of others.

Martha Z said...

Great photos and what a wonderful way for these folks to reafirm their commitment to sobriaty.

RuneE said...

A could cause if ever I have seen one.

PS An unusual design of that tug, but the I suppose it only has to use the river.

Your EG Tour Guide said...

I've never head of this celebration but I think it's a wonderful way to show support for those who've tried so hard to recover.

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I am on my third digital camera, all Olympus. I enjoy using it and sharing my photos. I also enjoy writing. I hope to share a little of each on this blog. My main blog is Postcards From the Northwest.

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