Saturday, yesterday, at noon, here in my peaceful little village in the middle of Ohio, a little boy was killed by a car. We don’t know the details, yet, but they don’t matter.
We do know is his family was crossing the street. A car driven by a sixty-something hit the entire family; all of them went to hospital. As of this writing his is the only death.
The 12th of July should have been a memorable day for him because he probably got ice cream, saw the water falls, and probably enjoyed seeing many of the dogs and people walking about. The village was different from his home in Virginia, and perhaps he would remember us as he grew into a young man, a man with a family, a career, and the possibility of helping humanity into the future.
The title of this essay is deliberately harsh, because the impact of that car has caused this little boy to impact my life, and through me, perhaps, some of you. It’s my fervent hope that his life does not end with a short obituary and a few tears. It’s my dream that events like this create a greater impact within ourselves, and our society.
I dream of a day when every tragedy causes us to pause, appreciate each other, and be thankful for the simple things in life. I dream of a day when every tragedy becomes a new incentive to learn, and improve ourselves and our society. And I dream of a day when tragedies like this are only known through ancient history.
We must be careful not to over-react. Was the family paying attention and following the rules of the road? Was the driver competent and was the car in proper working order. If something did fail, what was it and how can we prevent such events like these in the future?
This little boy’s memories of our village have been erased. But his memory becomes part of ours. Even as I write this, I’m also reading about children whose memory is being erased in Syria, Gaza, Irag, Afghanistan, and other places. Will our society ever grow to the point where those lives are also mourned?
Or will their impact be lost?