I wasn't able to make it to class on Thursday to listen to Kurt from Thomson. I wish I would have been able to, but due to a horrible bus/van crash in my hometown Tuesday afternoon I did not. What ended up happening was that a van ran a stop sign and crashed into a school bus, filled with innocent kids, sending the bus tipping over onto and oncoming pick-up. Upon impact with the pick-up four kids were either trapped immediately or soon after due to injuries passed away. The ages of these kids were between 8 and 14. There has been a lot of publicity given to my hometown and former high school by the local and national media.Obviously, we would want this for a much different reason, but I am surprised and glad that the media has been involved and respectful throughout the entire process. I have watched numerous news programs in the last week, and found that even the anchors back up here in Minneapolis, are getting emotionally involved. Its such a powerful story of tragedy that in some way, ever person can see them being on that bus, or their children being there.
What made this whole story difficult for me was that I personally know the two brothers that died in the crash. Before this last weekend, I had only known them basically as an acquaintance. They are the younger brothers of one of my close friends. He had just gotten married last Saturday, with a wedding that seemed to go perfect and the two were so full of happiness when my girlfriend and I went out for supper with them on Sunday night. The next day, they flew out to Mexico to enjoy their honeymoon and get away from this cold weather. Then on Tuesday afternoon, he had to receive a phone call that his little brothers had passed away. There was nothing anyone could do. They had to wait to get a flight out of Mexico, which was no easy task, and had to wait an entire day to find one. Finally, they were able to arrive here in Minneapolis Wednesday night. My girlfriend and I decided that the only thing we could do, is drive them back home. When they got in the vehicle with us, it was weird because they didn't know any details of the crash. Tessa and I filled in all the blanks, since we had been watching and reading the news nonstop since the tragic event. After that was done, we continued to ride in silence for the next two hours. What can you say? I think just by having us in the vehicle made them feel better. Seems that I learned that it doesn't alway have to be a comforting word or hug that helps someone. Sometimes it is just being there. Now since Wednesday, a community wide service was held that over two thousand people attended to show their support for the families involved. Even our governor and senate members were able to be in attendance. Tim gave an awesome speech, filled with real words of understanding for the families and the community, and not some speech furthering his own political agenda. Next Coleman gave his speech, that was just as difficult for him to give as it was for us to hear. He has already lost his daughter and son to tragedy and was someone that could say, "I know how you feel." Since the service, people are trying to get back to their routine and get their lives back in order. Kids returned to school, community members back to work and the media back to the breaking stories of the cities. This tragedy has brought to light many advantages of being from a small town. This community wide support that people are showing is incredible and can not be matched up against anything. In addition to the community and citizens of Minnesota sending their support, flowers and cards have come from Alabama, New York, and California from schools and parents that just want to help. One of the most touching stories I've heard in the last few days was about a gentleman who drove up from Iowa to personally deliver flowers to each of the victim's families because he too has lost his children in a tragic way. All of these events, have brought together families and communities across the country. While one week ago, we were celebrating the joining of two people, this week we will be mourning the passing of two young people from that same family. My hope is that this does not dampen their joy about their future together, but take in stride and become even closer through it all. It is always hard to have those you care about hurting and you know you want to help, but can't do much. One just has to remember to be there for them, sometimes that's all you can do. Through all of this, the community reaction makes me proud to be from a small town were everyone does know everyone and everyone cares.