Can I be honest with you? Before I woke up this morning I'd never even heard of Clarence, NY. Before a little bit past 10.00pm last night, I would put money on the fact that possibly you and most other people hadn't either. The spotlight is often a good thing. Drawing attention to your small town can be rewarding. But never when it involves such devastating tragedy. Reports are that 49 people in the plane and one on the ground were killed when the plane carrying 5000 pounds of fuel hit a house in the quaint little village of Clarence. The inhabitants of Clarence will never be the same again. Their lives are forever changed by a common tragedy that will be the topic of conversation around the 'water cooler' for weeks, and possibly months to come.
But, if it's even possible to say so, there is one tragedy that stands out above all the rest. It's the story of Beverly Eckert, an activist for security changes since 9/11, who was on her way to speak at a ceremony. Sadly, she perished in the crash. What makes her story any different than the rest? Well, Beverly's husband lost his life on 9/11 in the World Trade Center plane (missile) crash. Since that time she had devoted her life to actively trying to get legislation passed that would make our country much safer from terrorist attacks. Ironically (maybe almost poetically) Beverly was on her way to speak at a ceremony in honor of her late husband, to be held at their high school where they'd been sweethearts. It would have commemorated his 58th birthday and the instituting of a scholarship in his name.
Life! Often as tenuous as a thread. Five minutes before the crash, if any one had told the person in the home, who was killed in the crash, that he/she had only five minutes to live, what could or would he/she have done differently? I guess we'll never know this side of heaven. One thing we do know though, is that we have an opportunity right here and right now to ensure that we are living life to the fullest so that the inevitable but unexpected end doesn't catch us unprepared. In the inimitable words of the atheist bus campaign in the UK, "...Now stop worrying and enjoy your life." And the first part of that campaign? I admit I've amended it slightly and, instead of the statement "There's probably no God" it now reads, "There is definitely a God"