restricted access Normandie

From: Civil Wars

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27 Normandie It wasn’t loose lips that sank her but a spark from the acetylene torch of a welder who somehow supposed that life preservers, because they were buoyant and waterproof, were also fireproof. No, not at all, and a pile burst into flames the workmen on the ship fought for fifteen minutes until they realized that they were losing. The fire department came to pump water through their high-pressure hoses into the stricken vessel, which fairly quickly capsized and lay there, a huge black ruin— more than a thousand feet long. She and I were both seven. From my parents’ black Plymouth on the West Side Highway I could see the poor thing lying on her side, an object lesson that not even great size was any protection from war and the perils I already knew were lurking. ...

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