Friday, July 24, 2015
We are all connected, but some are a little more connected than others
Some people say that every person in the world is connected to every other person in the world by not more than six degrees of separation. I have no idea whether this theory is true, but I do know one thing.
Sometimes six degrees are far more than are necessary.
It has been a sad week hereabouts. One of the five American servicemen shot and killed in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on July 16th -- surely you heard about it even in other countries -- was a local boy. The local radio and television stations have been reporting almost non-stop since the moment he was identified as one of the victims. It’s safe to say that the entire region has been affected and we all share in his family’s sorrow. Most, of course, do not know the family personally.
Lance Corporal Squire K. “Skip” Wells of the United States Marine Corps was 21 years old at the time of his death. He graduated in 2012 from the same high school that my three children attended back in the 1980s. His mother, Cathy, was a classmate of our three children at the same school. They were all members of the school’s marching band. Mrs. RWP and I worked alongside Cathy’s mother (Skip’s grandmother) raising money for the Band Boosters Club. When my daughter decided to attend a university about a hundred miles away from home, her first roommate there was Cathy, who was in her second year there.
Corporal Skip Wells’s body was returned to a local funeral home yesterday. Many people stood waving flags on bridges and lined the streets between the airport and the funeral home. His funeral service will be held on Sunday afternoon at the largest church in the area; it can seat seven or eight thousand, I think, and it will probably be full. A public memorial service was held on Tuesday evening at his high school’s football stadium; it was reportedly attended by over five thousand people.
Sadly, the same sorts of events are taking place for the four other military men who lost their lives in the senseless attack. The people of Chattanooga have been hit especially hard.
This is not the first time in my life that we have had a personal connection to a major event.
The brother of a woman we have known for 40 years was killed in the World Trade Center attack in New York City on September 11, 2001.
I hope you can maintain emotional and physical distance from violent events in our world. For some, like Mrs. RWP and me this week, they sometimes come just a little too close.