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EXT. SHOTS STORMY COASTLINE
The ultimate measure of a man, is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Captain Sylvester Gardiner Kept telling his wife that things were not as bad as they seemed. Gardiner’s ship, the E.S. Newman, pitched and rolled among the waves as if she were a rowboat, not a 393-ton schooner, and was in serious trouble. The Newman had set sail from Providence, Rhode Island, several days earlier en route for the Chesapeake Bay, but had run into the storm and been pushed off course, probably somewhere off the coast of North Carolina. Seawater poured into the schooner, and Gardiner knew the waves and wind would soon tear the ship apart. His only chance of saving his crew, his wife and three-year-old son Thomas, who were also on board, was to beach the Newman, to deliberately run her aground, and hope that help would come from shore.
Gardiner ordered his family and his six crewmen to secure a hold topside, then he sailed the Newman directly into the violent breakers. The keel struck; the schooner buckled, her timber rending and snapping, but settled whole in the pounding surf. Firt mat, J.B. Crandall lit the red distress torch and Gardiner and the rest looked toward where land should be. Just how far from shore they had grounded was unknowable. He did know that, in October, the Life-Saving Service stations should be manned.
The sea’s relentless pounding began to take the ship apart; she would go to pieces soon. Since the yawl boat had been lost, the crew would have to swim for shore if help did not arrive. Reaching the beach in such conditions would be nearly impossible, even for the best of swimmers. The chances that he and his wife would safely reach land, with a three-year-old in tow, were considerably worse. Gardiner ordered a second distress signal lit.
To the north, through the drizzle and fog, there was a tiny red light, but it fizzled and faded. Then a single red rocket. A lifesaving crew had seen their distress call!
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