27 April 2015, Monday – Memorial Service in Barcelona

Good weather conditions have speeded up the debris recovery work. It is considered to be completed so that specialists are currently inspecting the crash site for environmental damage so it can be removed.
The French authorities are in charge of the identification and release of the victims´ remains. I was told that the pathologists were working day and night. Hopefully the victims´ remains can be returned to their home countries very soon.
The second black box confirms that the co-pilot of the Germanwings airbus deliberately flew into the mountain. The investigation is ongoing. Experts want to focus on the question of tighter pilot screening — allowing pilots on sick leave to fly, proper procedures for dealing with pilots who suffer from depression and with the locking mechanism on cockpit doors.
As a consequence of the disaster in the Alps of southern France, many airlines are now requiring at least two people to be in the cockpit at all times. But why only now? Jens and all the other passengers on Flight 4U9525 would still be alive. Security is obviously increased when two people are in the cockpit. Are the Americans more intelligent? After the 9/11 attacks US lawmakers required airlines to increase cockpit security. (Three authorised crew members in the cockpit would certainly provide additional security.)
Why has Lufthansa been so reluctant to introduce a two-person cockpit rule? Because of the costs?? In light of the fact that this is not the first time pilots have deliberately crashed planes, which we should have learned from, this is simply criminal:


On the other hand, security measures can also be a danger. Jens is indirectly a victim of 9/11. Cockpit doors have been reinforced since the attacks and it is impossible to break them down from outside, neither by intruders nor in an emergency. An electronic code adds an extra layer of security. These security measures made it possible for Andreas Lubitz to carry out his deadly plan, resulting in a vast number of people around the world mourning the loss of their loved ones.
Almost a month after the Germanwings disaster, Spain, which lost 51 citizens, holds a memorial service for the victims in the Sagrada Familia Cathedral.
Jens´ girlfriend flew to Barcelona to attend.
I´m glad that we stay home as we´re frazzled and exhausted. The memorial service at the Cologne Cathedral was good but it was enough for us.
There are other reasons to avoid the service: Of course we would have to fly from Düsseldorf to Spain, exactly like our son did a few days before the disaster. Maybe we would walk the same ways he did in the terminal without knowing that his life was about to end abruptly.
The return flight would be even more depressing. We would have to enter the Barcelona airport building, just like Jens did on 24 March 2015. That was where he spend the last hours of his life.
Germanwings is said to have changed the flight path so that it does not fly over the crash site, although the rest of the route is the same. He will have seen villages and scenery from the airbus as we will see them.
The departure time could also be identical to that of the doomed airplane. My research showed that on that black Tuesday there was only one flight from Barcelona to Düsseldorf.
I avoid the journey with this knowledge hanging over me. Why do we have internet and TV?
I watch the broadcast of the memorial service in Barcelona from Germany.
Prior to the service, members of Christian and other religious communities as well as Spanish politicians expressed criticism that it will be a Catholic mass. This could be interpreted as showing little respect to those of other faiths. The Catholic church rejected the accusation.
King Felipe VI, Queen Letizia, the Spanish Prine Minister and other members of government attend the official memorial service.
Unfortunately I don´t understand a word of what´s being spoken. Family members from other countries are probably also having the same problem as there are no simultaneous translations available to them like in Cologne. They cannot even follow the service in Spanish as it is being held in Catalan.
The camera experts maintained our anonymity at the Cologne Cathedral as they only filmed us from behind. Privacy is obviously valued differently in Spain than in Germany. The lenses of the cameras focus directly on the mourners´ faces, even if they show their grief openly.
Following the service the King and Queen walk through the cathedral and shake hands with every one of the nearly 600 family members, embrace them and offer words of comfort, especially when children are standing in front of them. The entire procedure takes one to two hours.
Although I consider monarchies to be historically outdated I will not forget the Spanish royal couple´s magnificent gesture.

© Brigitte Voß / Translation: Ellen Rosenbaum


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