Loss of Words

As a writer, I’m supposed to be able to convey a message.  On here, usually after some thought and research (if it’s necessary), I can put something down for all of you to read that makes sense.  And I’ve never been afraid to tackle the hard issues if need be.  But today, I sit down and start to write, and I’m not really sure where even to start.  This is more of a personal entry more than anything, but one that needs to be written.

Since this past Sunday morning, I have found my mind drifting back to my high school days and even to the course of my life since graduating.  Facebook has allowed me to reconnect with some people that I went to school with, but there are many more that I know that I probably should, as well.  On Sunday morning, I found out that a young man that I graduated high school with was killed in the line of duty in Afghanistan.  For the first time, the war has hit home and my mind is still trying to wrap around it.

Though there were probably only about 200 of us in my graduating class, I did not know Sgt. 1st Class Aaron Grider very well.  We had some classes together, but it is doubtful if we ever even said anything to each other…even in passing.  And yet, upon hearing the news of his passing, my heart and mind have been saddened, and I’ve even shed a few tears for this brave man that I once saw on a daily basis for four-years walking around the school.

I have tackled the issue of war before… but never has my mind been placed in such a position to where I’ve personally known someone that has been killed in the line of duty.  My personal convictions still stand, though.  War does not beget peace.  War begets war… and violence begets violence.  Peace can only be achieved through peaceful means and peaceful coexistence with each other.  I’m not trying to downplay our conflict in Afghanistan or the sacrifice that Aaron made for our country.  Quite the contrary.  Aaron is a true hero that put the lives of other people, whom he had never met, before his own.

So as my mind races through various thoughts and my heart continues to feel sad over the loss of a classmate and a worldclass guy, I cannot help but think of the words of Gandhi… which I have written on here many times before.  “May we cultivate peace in our hearts; peace begins at home.”  May we all find peace within ourselves, and may we all hug those that we love and care for just a bit more today.   For all of those who knew Aaron personally, I have only this last thing to say… may his ever-shining light never be extinguished from within but rather have it light a new direction for you all.  May peace and tranquility be found within all of us.

In Memoriam:

Sgt. 1st Class Aaron Grider

September 18, 1980 – September 18, 2010

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