Thursday, April 18, 2013

In Memoriam

I am still processing the tragedies that occurred this week at the Boston Marathon and the blast at the fertilizer plant outside of Waco, Texas. Lives were lost and others survived but face life with missing limbs and other injuries that have radically changed the trajectory of their lives.  The survivors and the families of all affected will face some very dark days ahead. Contrary to what some people think, grief is a lifelong process. It comes in waves. Things will eventually get better but the lost of a loved one creates a specific hole in the heart that can never be filled.

Waco was an accident, but the tragedy at the Boston Marathon was not. As we are left to ponder the nature of the terrorists and how anyone can ever see the deaths of innocents as a victory, there is one thing we shouldn't do - give into our fear.

In the post 9/11 world, we are all more aware and more vigilant. Security at events has been heightened but we cannot anticipate everything. In the past twelve months, we've had the movie theater massacre in Colorado and the unbelievable horror at Sandy Hook Elementary School. These events show that even without the specter of terrorism, these kinds of things can happen. All it takes is one unstable person.

Terrorism, accidents, unstable violent people, it is easy to feel like we can't be safe anywhere. Yet that is no way to live. We have to persevere and move on. One witness interviewed after the Boston Marathon made an amazing point. In the midst of the confusion and the madness, people right there, immediately and instinctively went into action mode - helping the wounded, reaching out to perfect strangers, doing everything they could to offer their assistance. In the midst of the hate and the violence, there was humanity. There was generosity. There was strength. There was bravery. There was love.

It is in that spirit that we must honor those who perished by living our best lives possible. By doing and being our very best and living the life we were given as fully as possible.

At the end of Saving Private Ryan, decades after so many men lost their lives to save one man, Private Ryan went to Arlington cemetery. With his family in tow, he wept and said, "I tried to live my life the best that I could. I hope that was enough. I hope that, at least in your eyes, I've earned what all of you have done for me." That is all any of us can do, honor those who have gone before us by living the best live we can.

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