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The island of Tjörn, West Coast of Sweden. Island number 4 (out of 100). Country number 3 (out of 25). Month 3 (out of 100)


One winter night 36 years ago the ship “Star Clipper” ran into one of the columns of the old Tjörn bridge causing it to collapse. Before anyone was able to stop traffic 8 people, in 7 cars, had died as their vehicles plunged over the edge into the ice-cold water 40 meters below.

I was only 12 when it happened but I still remember it vividly.

Some places just gets connected to a trategy for the longest time.

Like Waco, Texas. And, on a much bigger scale, Hiroshima.

In Sweden Tjörn is still very much connected to the tragedy of the Tjörn Bridge in 1980.

Today I visited Tjörn and drove over the new bridge that was built to replace the one that was ripped apart.

I stopped to read about the bridge and found out that the new bridge was opened less than 17 months after the accident – a quite astonishingly fast construction, at least for being Sweden in the 1980’s.

When I read that I thought about how long it took for the USA to reopen the World Trade Center after the 2001 attacks of 9/11.

New York, 9/11 is another date and place that for a long time will be connected to a terrible event.

It has always struck me as odd how the USA was so slow to rebuild the World Trade Center.

You would think that if you want to show the world, and the terrorists, that you are strong, that you are bouncing back, then would the best strategy not be to do everything in your power to put up a new building as soon as possible?

Yet it took almost 15 years, 164 months to be exact, until the new building – One World Trade Center – was opened to the public in May of 2015.

More than 14,5 years to rebuild a building?

Yes, I understand that building a huge building in the middle of New York is not an easy thing to do.

But according to Wikipedia the owners of the original World Trade Center Towers (the Port Authority) announced the selection of Minoru Yamasaki as lead architect on September 20, 1962 and the towers opened  were opened 11.5 years later on April 4, 1973.

That means that it took 3 years longer to rebuild the World Trade Center the second time than it did to build the original two towers. (Even though the first towers were built more than 50 years ago (!) which means they had much more primitive technology to build with (and no computers at all to help them, for example.)

According to the sign next to the Tjörn Bridge, the reason they were able to build the new bridge so fast was because everyone worked together to make it happen, and processes that normally would have been done one after the other, where done in parallell to speed things up.

The story of the Tjörn bridge is a story of a terrible accident that was resolved in a resolute way.

I guess the lesson here is: It’s not what brings us down that defines who we are – but how we build us up again.

Fredrik Haren, aka “The Island Man”, plans to visit 100 islands, in at least 25 countries, on at least 6 continents – in less than 100 months. The purpose of this “World Tour of Islands” is to get a better understanding of the world, a deeper understanding of the people who live here and a broader understanding of life.
Tjörn was island number 4, country number 3 and months number 3.

(Picture Credit of old bridge: Wikipedia. Creative Commons.)


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