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Gotthold G. Elbert

Gotthold G. Elbert


...there were for many the long years of hard work caused by the death of the breadwinner...

"On this sad fiftieth anniversary of this fearful disaster the newspapers and magazines of the nation will bring descriptions of this horrid event .  We will attempt to describe to some extent the grief and mourning with which Grace Lutheran Church, 28th Street and South Karlov Avenue, Chicago, was stricken by this disaster."

"I, myself, then 21 years old, attended the funeral of three victims of the Eastland in St. Paul's Lutheran Church, Melrose Park, Illinois.  The late Pastor Herman Meyer conducted the funeral services.  His text was Hosea 6:1: 'Come, and let us return unto the Lord; for He hath torn, and He will heal us; He hath smitten, and He will bind us up.'"

"Other survivors of the disaster speak of their hands as being bruised and bloodied while climbing out of the Eastland to safety by others who with them frantically were trying to escape in the same way.  One reiterates that a person whom he tried to pull out of the water in desperation dug his fingernails deeply into his (the rescuer's) cheeks, so that he himself had to seek medical aid and desist in his attempt to help others.  And then there were for many the long years of hard work caused by the death of the breadwinner in order to raise their now fatherless children, and this in addition to the loneliness of a long widowhood."

"And so also Amos 3:6 tells us: 'Shall there be evil in a city, and the Lord hath not done it?'  We know for unbelievers every calamity is a punishment.  But we also know that all the sins of Christians have been punished when our dear Lord took the punishment of our sins on His body and soul and bore this punishment for us during His great passion, as Isaiah 53:5 informs us: 'The chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed.'  We also know that faith is a condition or state as Paul tells us in I Thessalonians 5:9-10: 'God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him'  Thus for Christians a sudden death is not an evil, but a blessed death.  We are sure that when those waters closed in on those believers on the Eastland, they cried like Peter: 'Lord, save me,' and were assuredly saved, and their souls carried by the angels to the realms of light."

"And we must acknowledge gratefully that not all the Christians who had boarded the fated vessel died.  Many were rescued in the nick of time.  And some escaped by not getting there."

"God moves in a mysterious way.  His wonders to perform.  One member of Grace had bought a beautiful blouse to wear on the occasion of the Western Electric picnic, and now she had mislaid it and couldn't find it.  She was urged to hurry, but she felt she simply had to wear that blouse.  But the search had just delayed her long enough that when she reached the dock from which the Eastland was to leave, the ship had already capsized.  Others found that the streetcars they had boarded could not proceed as fast as they usually went, due to the heavy traffic on that rainy Saturday morning.  The grumbling of these passengers, too, changed to prayers of thanksgiving when they found that the lack of speed had saved their lives that morning."

"The Western Electric Co. did all it could both for the victims and for their families.  So did Chicago.  So did the nation."


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