I was born in Oklahoma City. I went to my first University of Oklahoma (go Sooners!) football game with my grandfather, a proud alum, when I was five. I knew what a wishbone offense was by the time I was eight. Thus, my twitter handle: @AshBoomerSooner. I am still partial to cowboy boots (just check out my closet). The friend I have known longest in the world, I met when I was six. She lived down the street. We have never lived in the same city since and yet we have remained in each other's lives all these years. She is the first person I texted yesterday to make sure her family was ok. I have not spent any significant time in Oklahoma since I was 10 and yet I felt like a true Oklahoman when the tornado ripped through Moore yesterday. In some inexplicable way, I felt sadder for all those who have been injured, for those who lost everything, and for the families who lost loved ones because I am from there. Is it me or is there just one tragedy after another in recent months? Superstorm Sandy. Sandy Hook Elementary. The Boston Marathon bombings. The fertilizer plant explosion in West, TX. The collapse of the factory in Bangladesh. Amidst the horror and destruction, whether wrought by mother nature, killers or terrorists, there are some truths about the goodness of people and our collective ability as humans to survive and overcome tragedy. I need some positive things to focus on as I try to process everything so here they are:
- There are heroes among us. Teachers who shield their students from bullets and debris. Neighbors, who have lost everything, digging with their bare hands to find other neighbors.
- There are first responders, who train every day for these eventualities, who think about everyone else before themselves, and who, because of that training, save lives.
- There are also trained volunteers, who are coming to Oklahoma from around the country to help people they have never met and will never see again.
From all of us in Boston: you will get through this. Boston Strong. Oklahoma Strong. Written by Ashley McCown, President of Solomon McCown & Company.