11 September 2007

Some Things You Never Forget

There are some things I know I will never forget.

I will never forget listening to the O.J. Simpson verdict in the 5th grade.

I will never forget hearing in Rexburg that Princess Diana died.

And I will never forget hearing about the attacks of September 11, 2001 as reported by Rick Dees In The Morning as I rode in the car with Robyn from seminary to high school.

In Mrs. Switzer's journalism class we brushed the news aside (thinking it was just an unfortunate plane crash) so we could continue learning about how to make our school newspaper less "bubbly," or the difference between libel and slander.

In Mr. Pence's physiology room, we listened to the news on AM radio. It could've been in his class that we learned of the second plane hitting the other tower. At that point we knew it was more than mere coincidence.

The rest of the day was a blur.

I remember feeling comforted knowing that a special meeting had been called in the tabernacle.

I remember watching CNN, Fox News, and the BBC for the latest updates, and I remember flipping through all the channels and seeing that from channel 3 to 73 (except for Nickelodeon), all regular programming had been cancelled to air continuous coverage of the monumentally life-changing news.

And I remember how even in California we knew people that had barely escaped tragedy's path. Josh flew out of Boston that same morning (see here), and Matt and Corey would've been in one of the towers had it been open to tourists.

As a country we all felt vulnerable to other attacks.

In the weeks that followed, I learned that anthrax is more than a castle from Monte Python.

I kind of wish that we all remembered a little better the events of that day.

And that we still all flew our flags every day and took them down with care every night.

It was a terrible, terrible day, but it sure did make us better people and unite us as a nation...

for a month or so.

09 September 2007

Camille Cleverley Memorial

The hymn wove through us like audible Gospel thread tying us all to each other.

Tonight I went to the candlelight memorial service for Camille Cleverly, who a few days back was reported missing. This afternoon her body was found near Bridal Veil Falls.

I don’t know much about what happened, nor did I know Camille. However, I do know a lot of girls in the same boat Camille was in just hours before she disappeared, and felt like I should remember not only the girl that disappeared, but how vulnerable we all are to sudden and drastic changes, and that we, like the candles we lit in Camille’s remembrance, can quickly start flickering or even be blown out (if you know what I mean).

As I sat there among the mourners, I got to thinking about how one person’s death is really sad for everyone but the dead. We all get left behind to deal with life without the deceased, and the deceased gets to go hang out with grandma and grandpa while they patiently wait for us to die and join them. And I’m sure that the time that passes between a loved one’s death and the deaths of those left behind is much shorter for the dead on that side than it is for the living on this side. The only thing that could cause the deceased grief would be our grief (and I suppose the sins of the world, the overall rejection of the Gospel, etc.).

The Scriptures say that our nature doesn’t change from night to day when we die, so maybe as we grieve, we should think about what the dead one would tell us if he or she were allowed to communicate with us. If they were funny in life, they’d probably be funny in death.

The memorial service was beautiful. As we lit our candles in the darkened stadium, Elizabeth Smart played a song on the harp. We reflected on things, such as the fragility of life, how complacent we become when we think we’re safe, etc., and at the end of the harp solo as we continued contemplating life, a closing prayer was offered. After the final “amen” was said, the crowd, under the inspiration of Heaven and direction of angels, simultaneously broke out into a whisper-quiet rendition of Nearer My God, To Thee.

It was the perfect ending to a rejuvenating Sabbath.