Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

December 5, 2012

In Memoriam

Nathan Harter
Greensburg Daily News

Greensburg — The community lost more than four people in that plane crash.

It lost leaders, sources of benevolent energy that make any group or municipality thrive. We mourn for the families and friends, because their loss is immeasurable, but I take it upon myself to say that we should mourn as well the loss of their example.

The whole idea of community depends on our being entangled in each others’ lives, with a shared vision.  Within our particular community in Decatur County, the deceased had become so interwoven into the fabric of our daily lives that we notice immediately the hole they leave. They are not just statistics, faceless fatalities. The world is full of those every day. No, they have been more.

The energy toward community, the forces that bring us tighter, operate here and there, in surprising places. Not all of them are politicians or pastors. Leadership is where you find it, pulsating from good hearts animated on behalf of the whole. Most of us knew these people as leaders.

So what happens next? There will be private grief and hardship for some. The families will enfold the orphans in security and love. For some time now, we will pause for a moment and catch ourselves staring into space. The sage will ponder. The poet will compose a verse. But the community has to confront a big question, a question that most of us aren’t ready to answer, and that is this: who will assume responsibility for leadership next? Who will take up their example?

I keep this column simple. It is enough, I think, to ask the question, for we are all diminished by the loss. Let us be equally encouraged to memorialize them through our actions. That is all I wanted to say tonight.