There are some among us who feel a calling to chronical life. This includes tragedy. It’s not a need to be morbid. In fact, it’s the opposite. If we don’t tell the stories of tragedy, then how will we fully understand the suffering of other human beings?
During the slideshow put on by Grundy County Coroner John Callahan at the Joliet Junior College 9/11 ceremony, there is a photo of a crowd of people surrounded by the dust of the falling twin towers. The man farthest back in the crowd is holding up a camera. He was probably on automatic response. He saw what was going on around him and realized that if he did not capture it, perhaps no one would. If that happened, perhaps it would be lost to everyone except those there that day.
Like many of you, I was glued to the television on 9/11. I worked in a newsroom and we were taxed with the duty of telling the story of a nation’s tragedy, thousands of miles from where it occurred. And, since we were a weekly publication, we were telling the story many days after it happened.
And what we did was much like the man with the camera – we shared stories. In fact, it’s what we in the media do every day. We share stories – stories of joy, stories of tragedy, stories that without the sharing might be forgotten.
We may not remember the names of the more than 4,000 people who died in 9/11. But, if we remember just one story, if we don’t forget, their legacies live on.