Learning of the crash last night of Continental Flight 3407 near Buffalo, N.Y. brings lots of emotions and heartache flooding back to the surface. You see, the community where I live–Lexington, Ky.–was impacted by such a tragedy 2 ½ years ago.
In central Kentucky, we will never forget the flight number of the plane that crashed at Blue Grass Airport; where we were and what we were doing at the time we learned of the crash; nor the names, faces and stories of the 49 people who died that day.
It’s hard to describe the impact of such a tragedy on a community until it impacts your community. Just about everyone in the Lexington area knew someone who was on Flight 5191 that day or knew someone who knew someone.
In my small circle, there was the former co-worker who lost both of his parents that day. My wife had a co-worker who lost her niece and another co-worker who lost her boyfriend. My church had at least six families who lost loved ones that day.
While you don’t ever forget such an event, it’s easy for those of us who did not lose a family member to settle back into a pattern of normalcy. Then along comes an event that makes us recall those who just might not be doing so well-even 2 ½ years later.
Two weeks after the crash of Flight 5191 here, a news segment aired on the five-year anniversary of September 11 and the impact of the crash of United Flight 93 on those in Shanksville, Pa., where the plane went down. In watching the interviews with the people of Shanksville, I could relate to every feeling that was shared, every story and every tear. There is something about a tragedy like this that connects communities.
Over the next days, we will learn more about the lives of the victims of Flight 3407 and hear the cries of those they have left behind. The people in the Clarence, N.Y. where the plane crashed will never be the same nor will the first responders, witnesses, and the countless people who have lost a loved one or know someone who has.
People have suddenly lost fathers, mothers, children and friends. Among the cries of “why?”, “what if?” and “what do I do now?”, there are no pat answers. But I do know that this is a time where the church can be the church. Reach out. Love. Pray.