Object Lessons: Rantings of a Lone Pamphleteer
The effects of last week’s attack are still with us. I feel betwixt and between, hearing the names and personal stories of so many victims and their surviving families, while so many dead are still uncounted, let alone unnamed.
This tragedy, for those of us living in DC, is too close to home. DC is such a small enclave, really. People get around, end up knowing people who know people; that's how DC works. While many of us were lucky enough not to personally have relatives on the planes or at the doomed sites, often we know of victims, nearly know them.
I used to work at a law firm; one of the lawyers I knew there, Peter Batacan, lost his wife in the Dulles plane. I met Karen Kincaid only once, at a Christmas party. We chitchatted over a drink at the bar. Still, I feel for Peter’s loss; they were, in the words of the firm’s managing partner, “the kindest couple” he’d ever met.
Their kindness outlasts even this death. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in memory of Karen should be sent to the Washington Animal Rescue League, 71 Oglethorpe Street, NW, Washington, DC, 20001, Attention: Mr. Rosenfeld. Karen was active in animal rights and care.
Another example is Jon’s neighbors, the Falkenberg family. They live two blocks from Jon, in the town of University Park. Charles S. Falkenberg, Leslie A. Whittington, and their two daughters, Zoe and Dana, were all on the Dulles flight. An entire family decimated by the tragedy, the Falkenberg's also have the distinction of including the tragedy’s youngest victim, 3-year-old Dana.
I drove by their home yesterday. A makeshift memorial, a now-too-familiar sight on television, has sprung up on their front stoop. Flowers, a Mylar balloon “Just Because,” and several teddy bears cover the steps.
These victims to whom we have such a slight connection touch me so, because they are almost too close. Don’t misunderstand: I am grateful not to have had a close friend on the flight, and oddly ashamed to claim kinship with these acquaintances. I suppose what I miss is the chance to have known them better.
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