2 Army Majors, soldier killed in helicopter crash – Newspaper Headlines – August 16, 2008

Sad news, but it may have been just another headline to me, if my parents hadn’t called to tell me that one of those young Army Majors, was the son of a couple we knew. I didn’t know him personally, but I knew and respected his parents. His parents are friendly with my parents. He was in the same batch as my cousin in the Indian Military Academy (IMA). His wife was another cousin’s classmate. His brother-in-law was my student……..so there were many connections between my family and this young officer.

I cannot begin to imagine the grief of his wife and parents and all those who knew and loved him (as also that of the other two families who lost their loved ones). And even those of us who didn’t know them directly, paused that day to ask ‘Why?” There were a myriad ‘whys’ running around our minds – Why this tragedy? Why were they taken away so young? Why did they have to die while they were on a rescue mission? Why is life so unfair? Why……….?

……….. And then maybe some, like me, asked, “Why them, and not me?” And I got no answer to that question. The only response I got, was a series of questions:

  • Are you living your life meaningfully?
  • How are you making every day count?
  • Are you getting lost in the small details, and forgetting the ‘big picture’?
  • What kind of legacy are you going to leave?
  • Do the people I love know that I love them?

If the death of these young men has meaning, it is this that it will inspire many of us to live more meaningful lives and hope that when death comes it will find us, like them, doing the work we were meant to do.

Tomorrow is not promised to anyone, young or old alike,
And today may be the last chance you get to hold your loved one tight.
(from the poem ‘If I Knew‘ written by Dr. H Solomon – written in memory of those who perished in the 9/11 tragedy. )

May you be inspired – every day!