Today is the first anniversary of the September 11th tragedy. I attended a memorial service in my small town, Longview, Washington, which began at 8:46, the time the first jet liner crashed into the World Trade Center. A local choir and chamber orchestra performed Mozart's REQUIEM, and each person was given a heart with the name of one of the victims. I received the name "David M. Charlebois". Suddenly, in that instant, this tragedy became personal for me. This human being, David Charlebois, died a year ago - had his life taken away - by people who had no idea who he was or how he lived his life. I didn't know him, but I am pretty sure about one thing: if any one of these hijackers had taken the time to know him, they might have been his friend. He would still be living today, and so would others in Afganistan and elsewhere who have been killed as a result. So, it is our own ignorance that causes tragedies like this. The time is here for us to choose an alternate way of solving problems. History has not been a good teacher, or rather, we have been deaf to it's lessons. The only way I know how to attain peace is to be peaceful. It must begin somewhere, and I'd rather die passively than doing it killing innocent people like David M. Charlebois or an Afgani or Iraqi. Please, God, give us the courage to not meet violence with violence. Help us to turn this tragedy into positive actions, sensitive to the specialness of your creation.
I just wanted to let everyone know I just received my Mercy Band today. I ordered it very shortly after the tragedy.
I asked for a random selection of bands from the group of people who lost their lives in the hijackings. I received David's name.
I was in shock, disbelief, and horrified when our airliners were used as weapons against our own people. I felt for the people on those airliners as they had no chance. They were victims of an ungodly act of cowardice and shame.
I know there are a lot of families who lost one or more loved ones, both on planes or within the buildings struck, and I my heart bursts with sadness with each of them. It was a horrific act, a cowardly act, and a most selfish act.
My prayers were, are and will always be with you all.
When I received my band ("Bear anothers' name daily" as they say), I opened it with apprehension. I had no idea whose name I had recieved. I had no idea who this person was. I had no idea how much his/her family had grieved or if he/she even had close or living relatives. But I opened it. David M. Charlebois. That name pierced my heart. My lips quivered and my eyes wetted. I sat and stared at the band for at least ten minutes.
Why was I choked up? This was a person (America has over 370 million people) I had never met, heard of, or had even slightly known. But I was choked up.
David, through no desire or want of his own, lost his life on September 11th. He went to work that day and when the day was over, he and many others inspired our nation. Probably not the way he would've liked to, but he did just the same.
I served my nation for 10 and a hald years in the U.S. Navy. I always knew the chance may arise that I would be called upon to give my life for my country. But I placed myself in that position, a position which I would have had no regrets in doing. David never asked to be in that position. But he gave the ultimate sacrifice.
His name will never die in vain. I wear my band and I let everyone who asks me about it know why I wear it. I never want to let these reluctant heroes' names fall by the wayside. They are heroes. Their names need to be remembered, forever.
To the Charlebois family, My heart and prayers are with you. Please know that there are those of us who hold David's name in a most revered light.
God Bless you and God Bless America