This morning a great big sailing ship came into harbour in Charlottetown, I had not seen this ship since 1963. The ship is the Esmeralda, a Chilean Navy ship with a long history and for a few years under the military dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet, a sordid prison.

In 1963 it sailed into Quebec City and my father took us to see it. I remember how big it was, I was only 7 years old and so as a child I was impressed with the size of this ship.

What is strange about today’s visit in port is that the Esmeralda arrived on the second anniversary of my father’s death. I could not help but see a link with the past. My dad loved all sail ships and this one is impressive.

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The Esmeralda of the Chilean Navy

The ship today has returned like Chile to a peaceful and democratic vocation. The crew is composed of young sailors, men and women who learn naval sciences and represent Chile in its goodwill missions around the world.

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At Sunset this evening, just steps away from our home. Tonight it is all lighted up, it is beautiful to see after 54 years. I got choke up today looking at it, remembering my childhood and Dad, all those years ago.

Another funny thing also happened at supper time. On the Island, Scottish bagpipes and Curling are two big things, very popular and entire families participate in both. The College of Piping got a generous grant of half a million dollars last week. In the park across the street from us, 6 pipers and 4 drummers played Scottish bagpipe music, the old familiar tunes, like Scotland the Brave. They played for about 40 minutes, it was quite nice to have this impromptu concert at dinner time. They were a professional group, so no false notes.

 

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