Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The LuLac Edition #2401, April 17th, 2013

Our "Write On Wednesday" logo. 



The tragedy in Boston on Monday has given rise to a wave of reflection regarding violence, our vulnerability as a free society and even the specter of death. Dr. Joe Leonardi shared a story of his own, not about the meaning of life but the meaning of death. It’s our “Write On Wednesday” for today
Life Is Finite. 
I have never forgotten the day I learned the lesson that mortality pertains to me. As a 21 year old stationed in Hawaii, I was next to be assigned for an upcoming TAD ship posting. That ship was the USS Stark or another traveling with the battle group. I don’t recall why, but the personnel ended up coming from another duty station. However, I do recall the day we learned the ship was struck by a missile. 
The year was 1987, and we were at peace. Although previously assigned to ships that were in a couple of potential hot spots, nothing had ever happened — on that day, not only were fellow sailors attacked and killed, all of us severing in the Navy felt we were attacked. 
Walking out of my barracks room, I ran into one of my best friends, Robin Warren. We were both shocked. Robin said, “Buddy, I’m glad you didn’t get sent to sea.” It was at that moment reality struck; my parents could have received notice of their son’s death. While always aware that dying in service to our country was a possibility — that day it became reality. 
Life can be over without notice, without expectation and without explanation. It was the slap in the face of mortality that made me realize that we must embrace the reality of death, to genuinely enjoy life. 
As my age approaches fifty, barring any accident or illness, the bulk of life is in the rearview mirror. I accept the certainty of death. While in no hurry, if it comes, I am ready — there is no option. 
However, I have lived life and have done it, for the most part, on my terms. What saddens, sickens and angers me about the tragedy in Boston is the death of the innocent, the death of an eight year old child. 
An eight year old boy — waiting for his dad to cross the finish line. 
An eight year old boy — who must have been so proud of his dad completing one of the great marathons in the world. An eight year old boy — who had nothing but the future ahead of him. As the children of Sandy Hook Elementary, his life is prematurely over — there will be no carefree summers, no proms, no graduations — his, and their lives, were stolen by an inexplicable evil; an evil driven to harm rather than help, an evil intent to destroy rather than create. 
My experiences have taught me one important lesson, we are not promised tomorrow — so live for today. I close with the same words used to close a column I wrote for the Pittston Dispatch a few years back. 
Take every day with those you love and never forget to: Kiss them. 
Tell them you love them. Most importantly, hug them. 
Hold them close. 
Hold them tight. 
When you feel you have held them long enough — hang on one moment more.
Dr. Joe Leonardi is a former Congressional candidate, educator at Luzerne County Community College, Author, as well  a frequent contributor to "Write On Wednesday". He also is the owner of


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