It was just three years ago when the sickening, horrifying news spread out from the crash site, on the home of the Wielinski family at 6038 Long Street, in the quiet village of Clarence Center, New York, on the flight path to the Buffalo airport. Continental Flight 3407 had stalled, gyrated out of control, and fell like a rock, bursting into flames when it hit the ground. All 49 on board perished, as did Doug Wielinski, while his wife, Karen, and daughter, Jill, were able to struggle out of the wreckage of the burning house.
We all spend just a few brief moments on this beautiful earth -- a mere instant in the long history of humankind. And the life of each breathing soul is like a pebble tossed in a high and lazy arc over the calm waters of a clear, blue pond. The very moment that pebble strikes the surface of the water, gives rise to a ripple, which generates another and another and another. They spread outward from the center and lap upon far shores and near, often in mysterious and wonderful ways.
In this way did the lives of those on Flight 3407 affect those around them. Ripples in a pond.
I have been thinking about how to best end the story of Beverly Eckert, and it makes sense to talk about the wonderful ripples sent out from her exceptional life. There will be an accounting of the ways she made this country safer, changed the way airlines operated, the way skyscrapers were designed. But there will also be stories about the people Beverly touched, changed, helped and loved. It is these ripples that are a kind of eternity, moving through time, through hearts, through generations.
The ripples of some pebbles just go one and on.