Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep
Romans 12:15 (ESV)
This has been a week of reaching out to friends that are remembering past tragedies in their lives. We surround our friends with love when the event happens. Then we go on with life and forget about the anniversaries. That is not a bad thing; it just is. Sometimes people don’t want or need anniversaries remembered. It is personal.
I remember my dad died in late August 1981. My sister was shot in a workplace shooting on July 23, 2003. My mother-in-law died on January 31, 2011. My mom died on July 2, 2015. Each of these has personal significance to me. It doesn’t matter to me if others don’t remember them but I do.
The three events that I remembered with friends were personal but also in the public eye. In my last post, 731, I remembered and gave honor to the Herrera family. April 17th was the two-year anniversary of their son’s suicide. Today, I turn to two other events that happened on April 19th.
The first is the end of the Waco siege of the Branch Davidian compound on April 19, 1993. We were close friends with a cameraman from one of the San Antonio news stations. Our families went to the same church. Our daughters were the same age. We did things together as families. We would trade off babysitting for date nights. I don’t remember how long he was on location but it was longer than intended. Waco is about three hours north of San Antonio. It was supposed to be one day trip. I don’t remember if it was days or weeks he was gone but it was long and stressful.
I was a stay at home mom at the time, our older daughter was a little over a year old. I remember being glued to the television that morning. It seems like hubby was at home too. But that doesn’t make sense because it was a Monday. He would have been at work. Not sure either way. I remember seeing the compound go up in flames and thinking our friend was in harm’s way. Two years earlier we had watched the bombs in Desert Storm go off in an area where a friend was stationed. Many people died that day; our friend came home safely to his family.
April 19, 1995
Two years later on April 19, 1995, the Oklahoma City bombing happened. It purposely staged to happen on the same date as the Waco fire. I remember watching the scenes of devastation on the television. I wouldn’t know until many years later that a friend was in the middle of the chaos. I worked with my friend several years ago. We were close friends at the time. Now, we live in two different cities and don’t often talk. Every year on April 19th, I send her a message of remembrance and prayer. OKC is her hometown. She was an EMT on duty when the bombing happened. She worked her shift and quit her job soon thereafter. She has been divorced and is a cancer survivor. I have heard those stories. What I know about her time at the OKC bombing is in the paragraph that you just read. She doesn’t talk about it. It is important for me to tell her that I remember her and all the others like her that helped saved lives that day.
What about you?
You may not have friends that been affected by such public tragedies or you might. No matter, be there for your friends that need you on the anniversaries of times of grief. All it takes is a phone call, text or note saying that you remember and that you are praying for them. It means a lot. It is a tangible form of love.
Do you have dates in your life that it is important for others to remember? Did friends or family members come to your mind when you read this? Reach out to them. As always, I would love to hear your comments.