Sunday, August 17, 2014

Young Lions

Youth is happy because it has the capacity to see beauty.
Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old.
- Franz Kafka

Death shall come for all of us.  It is a natural process.  It is a part of life.  But it is not supposed to come for a child.  The death of a child is nothing less than a disturbance in the natural order of the universe.  On September 11, 2001, the universe's natural order was disturbed multiple times.

Bernard C. Brown II  was eleven years young when he was murdered on Tuesday, September 11, 2001.  Bernard was a sixth-grade student who was a passenger on American Airlines Flight 77 that morning that had departed Dulles International Airport bound for Los Angeles only to be hijacked and flown into the Pentagon, where his father Bernard, Sr., was stationed as a member of the United States Navy.  He was on his way to California for a four-day National Geographic trip for which he had been chosen - along with other Washington, D.C. elementary school students - as a reward for academic excellence.  His two great passions were basketball and going to school.  According to his mother Sinita on a day that he woke up feeling sick or a little under the weather, rather than using that as an excuse to avoid school he would implore his mom to let him go, downplaying how he felt so that he would not be required to stay home.  

Asia S. Cottom was also eleven years young when she was one of the people aboard American Airlines Flight 77 who was killed when terrorists crashed the Los Angeles-bound flight out of Dulles into the Pentagon on the morning of September 11, 2001.  Asia was on the flight to California to participate in the four-day National Geographic Society Ecology Conference with her teacher.  She had just started the sixth grade - and had done so in a new school.  Fortunately for Asia, her father worked at her school - the Bertie Backus Middle School - and was very well-liked by students and staff alike, which made Asia's transition smoother than it otherwise might have been.  Asia was survived by her parents, Clifton and Michelle, and a little brother.  

Rodney Dickens was the second-oldest of his mother LaShawn's five children and the oldest of her three boys.  Rodney was a perpetual member of the honor roll at Ketcham Elementary School in Washington, D.C. and he, too, was aboard American Airlines Flight 77 when it was crashed into the Pentagon on September 11.  Rodney was an avid reader.  He also loved playing computer games and playing with his brothers and sisters but the thing about which he was most passionate was professional wrestling.  He would watch it wherever and whenever he could - and would hang out at his uncle's apartment to watch any pay-per-view events.   His friends from school described Rodney as a good friend who was always willing to help anyone with anything - including homework.  

It's never too late to have a happy childhood.
- Tom Robbins


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