Friday, February 13, 2009

The Ironies of Life

This morning began with the tragic news of an airplane crash in Buffalo, N.Y.

Such news always seems to conjure anew memories of that day in September 2001 when terrorists hijacked four commercial airliners and deliberately crashed three of them into buildings.

The flight that crashed in upstate New York appears to have been the victim of the weather, not suicidal terrorists.

But Flight 3407 became linked with the September 11 tragedy in an unexpected way — Beverly Eckert, the widow of one of the casualties of that day, was aboard the flight and apparently perished with the other passengers and the plane's crew.

It is unspeakably ironic that Eckert should die in much the same way her husband did. I don't know whether he was a passenger on one of the planes or if he was working in an office in the World Trade Center. My guess is that he was working in the World Trade Center. His home — where Eckert apparently continued to live in the years since the tragedy — is in Stamford, Ct., which is less than 50 miles from New York City.

Eckert was flying to Buffalo, her late husband's hometown, to participate in weekend celebrations commemorating his 58th birthday.

As I say, I don't know if Eckert's husband was in his office or if he was on board one of the hijacked flights. It doesn't matter, really. All plane crashes are tragedies. They can happen at any time — on a cold winter day or on a cloudless early autumn day like the one in 2001. They can be the result of deliberate actions or completely accidental.

The point is that people are killed. Their families and friends are left to cope with the pain of their loss.

Today is a sad day for Eckert's family members. For the second time since the dawn of the new millennium, they are facing the death of a loved one that was the result of an airplane crash.

It is ironic, and somewhere someone is bound to make the cryptic observation that today is Friday the 13th.

Eckert and the rest of the people aboard Flight 3407 (as well as one man on the ground) are just as dead as they would be if a hijacker had been at the controls. Or if they had been confronted in a dark street by a homicidal mugger who only wanted whatever money they happened to have.

But there will always be a sense of irony attached to the manner of her death.

And perhaps this is the best time to have a faith you can lean on to help you make some sense of it all.

"We know she was on that plane," Eckert's sister said, "and now she's with him."


otin said...

It is really sad. Ten years ago these two people were a young couple and now they are both gone due to strange events. It really shows how precious life is.

David said...

Yes, it does.