Just as the people of Chile were celebrating a technological miracle when they pulled the 33 trapped miners from their tomb a half a mile below the ground halfway around the world in Switzerland another equally important technological miracle of sorts was being achieved by the Swiss.
Today Swiss engineers powered through a mountainside creating the world's longest tunnel and completing an engineering marvel 60 years in the making. As the mighty drill smashed the last rock out of the way the Swiss completed a 35.4 mile long tunnel thus eclipsing the former record of Japan's 33.46 mile long Seikan Tunnel as the longest on earth.
While no lives were saved like in Chile the Swiss wonder, called the new Gotthard Tunnel, will bring about environmental and economic savings of untold millions of dollars to this Alpine nation along with huge infrastructure savings by shifting millions of tons of truck traffic over the Alps to trains running under the mighty mountains.
First conceived in1947 by engineer Eduard Gruner, it will establish an important economic link between the Dutch Port of Rotterdam and Italy's Mediterranean Port of Genoa. It will also eliminate the heavy truck traffic through the Alps proving protection of Switzerland's pristine Alpine landscape for future generations.
Television stations throughout the Swiss nation and Europe showed the break through live along with the joyous celebration by engineers and miners in hard hats and bright orange work gear along with VIPs. It was yet another moment when technology was harnessed for good and people had a chance to celebrate what is right in the world rather than despair in what is wrong.
As trumpets sounded, cheers reverberated and tough miners wipe away tears of joy, foreman Eduard Baer lifted a statue of Saint Barbara, the patron saint of miners through the hole thousands of feet underground in central Switzerland.
The miners, engineers, politicians and people of Switzerland should be proud and should join them in their pride.