Category Archives: tragedy

Remembering a friend

Stanley Anderson, age 62, died last Thursday at the laundromat he so often frequented. He was shot and killed for reasons we don’t yet know. His friend, Katie, was injured by the same 70-year-old shooter.

Stanley was a kind and friendly man, humble and appreciative. WTOC news reported that a fellow patron at the laundromat said, “He was a very nice guy; kind of jovial type of guy.”

Stanley was homeless–had been for years. He worked when he could, but it was never enough. Health problems that came with his age made working even more difficult. He had no interest in the homeless shelters, but preferred to camp out in the woods or take shelter in the laundromat when a tropical storm blew through. He had very little in this world, but he had enough to be kind and friendly. He had enough to be thankful.

Stanley had his share of demons and the effects of his own bad choices that he would readily admit.

He was killed by a guy with a gun, making him the 33rd homicide in Savannah for the year. But he was more than a statistic. More than part of the homicide problem or the homeless problem. He was a kind man created and loved by God… a person with hopes even yet.

I talked with Stanley the week before he was killed, and he said he was working on his benefits, and hoping to get enough money together to get a place to stay. In the two years I knew him, that’s the first I’d heard him mention getting a place to stay. I thought things were looking hopeful for him. I watched Stanley and Katie shuffle away across the parking lot that day, hand in hand, always looking out for each other. And it was sweet and hopeful.

Stanley Anderson died on Thursday, November 2, 2017. This is just a bit of his story–a sort of memorial for one who had so little and might be deemed insignificant by the world’s standards. Yet he had a heart big enough to be kind and grateful and gentlemanly. He will be missed by those who knew him.

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Remembering 9/11 and Why We Must

September 11, 2001. A day to remember. A day that showcased both the worst and the best of humanity. A day that changed America, shattering our sense of security, our sense of separateness.

I remember the unspeakable horror as I watched events unfold as “breaking news.” The planes, the collapse of buildings, the terrible loss of life, the eventual loss of hope for survivors.

I remember having the news report on the television at Friedman’s Jewelers where I worked at the time. One young man walked up to the counter, saw the news, shook his head, and asked, “What country is that?” When I told him it was our country, he joined the rest of us in disbelief.

I remember standing with many employees and shoppers at the mall (where our store was located) as we circled up, and joined hands in the center court to pray. Prayers for the tragedy, prayers for our nation. The buying and selling of stuff was put on hold so we could tend to our nation’s wounds in our own way.

The horror of that day. So many people working just like any other day–suddenly gone. So many passengers flying to their doom. The jet-fueled fire consuming steel. The desperate who couldn’t bear to wait. The buildings’ collapsing, stealing away the hope of rescue for so many. The rescuers turned victims. The missing. The ache of the families searching for loved ones for so long afterward. The revelation that it was not an accident, but a planned attack designed to be horrific and devastating. The senseless destruction of life, of property, of the sense of security, of the world as we knew it.

The heroics of that day. The firefighters and first responders who ran toward the devastation in hopes of saving others. The “regular folks” who did the same. The courageous trapped inside who led others to safety with them against all odds. The brave passengers who overcame the evil, crashing into a Pennsylvania field instead of the terrorists’ target. The multitudes who helped and gave and prayed and did whatever they could.

We need to remember. To remember it all. Not just our personal stories or the stories of first responders. But also, especially, the stories of the Taken, the Survivors, the Brave, the Terror, the Terrorists. The immense distance between the deliberate choice to sacrifice in order to take lives and the equally deliberate choice to sacrifice in order to save lives.

In a way, this is the story of humanity. This is the story of us. Our lives, our hope, hang always in the balance.

We must remember.

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