Recently, we all heard about the tragic helicopter crash in California that took the lives of Kobe Bryant and one of his daughters, Gianna. We haven’t heard that much about the others souls were also on that fated helicopter. A baseball coach and his wife (John and Keri), young basketball player (Alyssa), a basketball coach (Christina), a mother and daughter (Sarah and Payton), and a pilot with years of experience (Ara). They may not be millionaires or headline athletes but each soul is equal and sad to lose in the end. That coach, the pilot, those young players and their parents all have friends and loved ones who are grieving right now alongside the Bryant family.

Kobe’s helicopter crash in itself is tragic, but there are other equally tragic deaths that have been overshadowed this weekend. There is the violent death of a Virginia police officer on January 24th. She was a U.S. Navy veteran, mother of a 2-year old, and recently engaged police officer. Friday evening she was dragged by a perp’s car and then pinned between the car and a tree, where she died. There were also three American firefighters killed in Australia when their plane crashed after dropping fire retardant. Ian, Rick and Paul were all U.S. military veterans and had families waiting for their return home. A U.S. Army Reserve soldier, Antonio, from North Carolina died on Friday in Syria in a car accident. Another soldier, Miguel, died earlier this month in Afghanistan when a roadside bomb went off. Antonio and Miguel’s remains return to Dover airport to grieving families and friends. Locally, a family in Newburgh was shot in their home on Sunday, leaving the mother, father, and 9-year old boy dead and a 3-year old boy seriously wounded. How is that 3-year old ever going to feel safe in his house?

While I am not making light of the passing of Kobe and his daughter, and my heart aches for his grief-stricken wife and surviving daughters, I cannot help but think of the families and loved ones of those not idolized by the media. Did you know that there are several different channels now devoted to remembering Kobe, a great athlete but not a god? Where is the channel that remembers the soldiers that died for our country, or the police officer who died trying to stop a criminal, or the firefighters trying to save Australia? And those are just the ones that I saw this weekend on the news. I am sure that there are several that we haven’t heard about because they are not considered news-worthy.

This somber Topic Tuesday reminds me to live for the present, and I hope it reminds you of that as well. That doesn’t mean risk it all on red in Vegas. It means that we should learn from yesterday’s mistakes and make today the happiest possible because tomorrow is not guaranteed. Gina Greenlee says, “Tomorrow is promised to no one. Prioritize today accordingly.” I think that is sound advice to go on.

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