Friday, April 3, 2015

Commemoration

Today is C day at the Blogging from A to Z Challenge,and, sadly today's letter is no challenge for me at all.

My theme is America the Beautiful.  But sometimes, our beautiful country has a moment of tragic ugliness.

On April 3, 2009, a gunman burst into an adult education classroom at the American Civic Association, blocks from where I work in downtown Binghamton, New York.  Within minutes, 14 people (including the gunman) were dead.

My first blog post, April 10, 2009, was taken from an email I sent to some friends after receiving phone calls and emails asking if I was all right.  It wasn't quite an eye witness report, but you can, if you want, call it the impressions of someone on the fringe of a tragic event.
Today, a monument on the edge of downtown Binghamton, New York commemorates the lives of those lost.

Through the months and years, I've blogged about the aftermath of the shooting a number of times.  I didn't know any of the dead personally, although I work with someone whose mother in law was in the building (she wasn't injured, but spent hours hiding with others in a room, until rescued by police).  In some way, it  changed the lives of everyone living or working in Binghamton  Additionally, for me, it was the triggering event for starting my blog.

Roberta King, a mother and grandmother, was the teacher - a substitute teacher, at that.  She took the class from the normal teacher, who had taken the day off to celebrate her 40th wedding anniversary.

Those who died that day (I refuse to call them "victims") came from all over the world.  Here are some of the monuments to the dead.

Marc Bernard and his wife came from Haiti to seek a better life here in Binghamton.
They left two orphaned children
Dolores Yigal came from the Philippines.
And Maria Zobniw came here as young child from the Ukraine. 
Each of the dead has a soaring bird as a symbol
Although I don't show the monuments of all the dead, they are all cherished and remembered today by our community and their families.

In a way, it is hard to believe that six years have passed since that day.

Is there a special day (good or bad) in your life that you commemorate?

23 comments:

  1. Alana.
    Commemoration is good but these tragedies unfortunately do change our cities and nation. Attacks like this are becoming too commonplace. However, as I continue to discover more about your wonderful city of Binghamton, I've begun to feel a kinship to it. The mayor should put you on his payroll because you're an excellent ambassador!

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    1. I second Amy Bovaird for her thought in making Alana the ambassador!

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    2. Binghamton does need an ambassador. You are too kind, Amy (and Ajay) but the second income would be nice!

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  2. I love the soaring bird. Looks like a dove. What a beautiful tribute.

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    1. Thank you. I believe it is a dove - certainly symbolic.

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  3. Thank you for sharing this. This is how a tribute is done. :)

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    1. Thank you, David. It is something I do every April 3, and I plan to continue.

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  4. Hi Alana,

    What an awesome tribute to those that perished in this tragedy and what a great way to be honored with the flying dove, very cool :) Thanks for sharing!

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    1. I do this every April 3 and plan on doing this in future years. Thank you for stopping by.

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  5. What a tragic occurrence - something that is sadly becoming far, far too common. My heart aches for the lives lost.

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    1. I feel for all the families, especially the two children who were orphaned. I was hoping to see an update on all the families in our local paper this year, but I must have missed it.

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  6. What a beautiful tribute - but as Laurel mentioned, it seems these senseless and tragic events are becoming far too common and frequent.

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    1. You (and Laurel) are, sadly, too correct. Way too sadly correct. We lost a native of our area (the school psychiatrist) at Newtown, too. Too many of these tragedies, all over the world.

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  7. School shootings are always poignant for me. The day after the Columbine shootings, I was part of a presentation called Differences: Gotta Have 'em at my high school. My sister in law went to Virginia Tech and one of her favorite teachers died in that shooting. The NIU shooter's main building of study was just across from the residence hall I was running at the time.. I commemorate all of those things each year. Even if just with a moment of reflection, because each has impacted my life in some way..
    The statues are beautiful :)
    ~AJ Lauer
    an A-Z Cohost
    @ayjaylauer on Twitter

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    1. That is poignant and I feel for your sister in law. For us in the Binghamton area, another moment came when one of our natives (nearby Vestal, NY) died in the Newtown shooting - she was the school psychologist. Yesterday, traveling, I passed the Interstate exit for Virginia Tech, and yes, I thought about that day, too. My son attended a presentation in high school by a woman who survived Columbine. Sometimes it seems there is no end to this sadness. Thank you for stopping by.

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  8. A very nice tribute! I am visiting from the A to Z Challenge!

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  9. Dear Alana, what a beautiful monument, and such a sad story. I just shake my head in bewilderment at why there are people who feel that they must destroy lives. It makes no sense to me, and only brings grief. You wrote about it beautifully here.

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  10. Lovely tribute to those who lost their lives that day. May their souls be at peace. I love the soaring bird.

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  11. Senseless acts of violence like these just make me feel so low and powerless. It's so tragic that these hardworking people took such a huge effort to leave their places of birth to make a life in another country, only for something like this to happen. This post is a lovely tribute to their memories.

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