Thursday, June 16, 2016


There were about 30 of us gathered in the century-old church, seated in wooden pews, looking toward the altar.

There were 49 candles in rainbow colors arranged on the shimmering cloth.

At the beginning of the little service, each of the 49 candles was lighted. 

Later, we walked single-file up the center aisle. Each of us blew out a candle after a name was read. Some of the names were hard to pronounce. 

The age of the victim was read with his or her name. Some of the ages were incomprehensibly young. 

Some of us had to come up a couple of times. We began to understand that 49 is an incomprehensible number.

Each time a name was read, the steeple bell was rung.

Do not ask for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for all of us.

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