The thoughts that were thunk and the goings on of my life.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

I Will Never Forget

Little did he know that while he was soundly sleeping something terrible was happening to his friends just down the street. A nightmare instantly became reality and quickly lives were shattered, but he slept peacefully on. He heard some commotion in the hallway outside, but figured it was the normal rustling of a dorm. Then at about six in the morning the phone started to ring. Parents and friends began to call. They knew some secret that he had not even know. Suddenly the truth began to become apparent. He found out that the rumors and worries were based on fact, that his perfect world was just one evening away from being shattered. He stood there in shock, not knowing what best to do. Quickly he donned his gear to work, but was halted at the door. His help wasn’t needed, not yet. The only thing he could then do was pray. Unfortunately he also had tests that day and class, so he made his way towards those, but reality was that his mind was merely on the tragedy just down the street, the tragedy that would fill his next few months, the tragedy that had already severed the lives of those he knew.

Finally by lunch he couldn’t take it, he knew help was needed, he could not just sit there with the inner torture of thinking that had time been shifted just a bit, then it would be for him that so many were mourning. So he went out, began to see what could be done. Turns out that for the rescue efforts some of the trees needed to be moved so that more crews could get in. So he went to go lift them, but to carry a tree a team was needed. That team bonded as never before. Suddenly the lines that had been drawn over the past semester didn’t matter anymore. Corps people were standing right along side Non-Regs unifying to help our fallen comrades. It was heart wrenching work because he knew that friends were in there, but he did not know which of those friends were still there and which weren’t.

Slowly the cloud of mixed information began to rise, and more heart breaks were seen and heard of. That evening when he was coming home he saw his friends begin to bawl. There was no doubt the amount of anguish they were going thru. But what was weird is that he had known the guy, but just never gotten to know him better. My friends began to describe who they were mourning for and it hit him like a ton of bricks. This guy was Chad Powell, an amazing genius, a leader in his honors math class, a dedicated community volunteer, a close friend to many. But on this day all of that potential came crashing down with a pile of once glorious logs. Then the frightening realization began to set in. Had everything come crashing down just one night later it would have been him. He would have been on shift to work, he would have been at the base of the stack, and it so easily could have been him who had lost their life. What was the purpose in his continuing to live? Why did he survive? Is it luck? Is it fate? Is there a reason behind the deaths of those who did not make it out?

I never found out all of the answers to those questions. But I do know I’m more thankful for being here. So many lives were changed that day. Some of my friends would never be the same. Some would repress everything and try to forget the pain that happened that day. In time there would be fighting about how to best move on. But the truth is that every body moves on in different ways. There are still times in my life to where I look back to where I was and I thank God that I’m still alive and pray for the families of those who are not.

Bonfire ’99 – We will never forget

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