Two Thousand Nine Hundred Ninety Six
Seeing the information on that linked site (most of which is information I never had known until recently) is like finding an old friend. I had never known that he was born in Kentucky (though I was living in New York state when he and I first became 'acquainted'). But, I find that a rather ironic twist.
I mention this because these people were more than "merely names" on a rapidly increasing list during the early 1970's. They were the brothers and sons and fathers of people I knew when I grew up. While I didn't know Charlie Brown Davis, Jr. personally, I felt like somewhere he had people who loved and missed him, just as much as the people I knew loved and missed their relatives. And he and I became connected. Forever, I guess.
Several months ago, I found a link to a site where someone by the name of D.C. Roe had a notion to individually memorialize each of the 2,996 victims of the 9/11 attacks. A very daunting task, but one I felt was both admirable and worthwhile. Not losing site of the personal impact of such a tragedy is often impossible. (In fact, you can go here to see a list of all the individual tributes. Your humble Oral Reporter is blog #357. I guess that means I got in early, huh?)
So, I sent along a little note and promised that I would be happy to include a post, on this day, remembering someone who had died in that terrible tragedy. That is how I came to be introduced to Keith Eugene Coleman, five years after his death.
I felt it was a particularly rewarding cause, because the group organizing this endeavor made it clear that this was not a finger-pointing expedition. It was not a project meant to talk about the politics of the day at all. It was simply a way to honor each of those who died in a terrible tragedy. Something about that deeply appealed to me...in much the same way the POW bracelets had. Knowing about the person behind the name on the list.
There is some basic information about Keith that can be found here. Sadly, even though he was only 34, he had a younger brother Scott who worked in the same office and suffered the same fate.
This piece gives a little more personal insight into Keith's life. His children, then 2 and six months old, will likely never remember him in their lives. As a parent myself, that hits entirely too close to home.
This was a man with a wife and two kids, getting up and going to work just like any other day...on a day that was anything but any other day...in a famous landmark that would soon become infamous. And while the rest of the world goes on, his wife raises their children and they grow, but a hole is left behind. A hole that will always be a part of those people's lives. That's what death does. The chain reaction doesn't stop when someone dies. It starts. The effects of a death spread in ways and places you can't imagine. It affects those left behind and they, in turn, interact with others, and so it begins.
Maybe not in your world or mine, but in the lives of those who knew him personally, he is NOT just another random name on the list of the dead that day. He is a father and a son and a brother and a husband. He will be cherished and remembered not because he was a victim, but because he was a man. A man who was lost to this world too soon, and who was loved by his friends and family, and who will be missed by them. Always.
I'm thinking of Keith Coleman today.
Thinking of his family.
Wondering how they get through a day like today. I can't even imagine it.
I'm going to send some positive energy their way. And I'm hoping I'm not alone in doing it.