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Be Not Terrified by Adversity

One of the most treasured pieces in the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, Vermont, is a rug bearing the Latin inscription Nec Aspera Terrent (Be Not Terrified by Adversity).

It always has had special meaning for Baroness Maria von Trapp and her children—the famous Trapp Family Singers—because the rug, a gift from a friend, arrived on December 21, 1980, a day after a fire razed the famous lodge, killing a guest and injuring seven others.

It took three years and $7 million to rebuild the lodge, but the Trapps never had any doubts about rebuilding. To battle adversity was nothing new to them. The family, immortalized in the musical The Sound of Music, fled Austria in 1938 rather than submit to orders directing Baron von Trapp, a former submarine captain, to return to the German Navy. On arrival in the United States, the family had only $3.50.

When work on their first Vermont lodge was nearing completion, the structure was destroyed by a storm, so they started all over with a second lodge—the one that burned down in 1980.

On December 18, 1983, the day the successor to the burned-down lodge opened, Johannes von Trapp recalled that, when the rug arrived right after the fire, he had decided it would be prominently placed in the lobby of the new hotel.

Adversity is a fact of life. It can’t be controlled. What we can control is how we react to it.

Three Minutes a Day, Vol. 24, Christopher Books, quoted in Bits & Pieces, March 2, 1995, pp. 14-16