02/07/07 — One moment: Loss of a fine man shows how fragile life can be

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One moment: Loss of a fine man shows how fragile life can be

This is not a place to judge the guilt or innocence of the man who allegedly held the knife that took the life of U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Vincent Wright this past weekend.

A court will decide whether what happened that night was murder and who deserves to be punished.

This is a chance to remind all of us just how fleeting life can be — and how a single moment in time and a bad choice or two by a third party can change many people’s lives forever.

By all accounts, Wright was a peacemaker — a man who gave of himself to children and his community. He was a family man with a wife and children.

And in a moment — allegedly over $20 — he lost his life — allegedly trying to keep what seemed like an insignificant argument from escalating.

Wright’s friends weren’t surprised. The more than 21-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force was known for being just that — a peacemaker who cared about people and keeping them safe.

He would have done the honorable thing in that sort of situation. That is the kind of guy he was, they said.

No one will probably ever know the whole story of what happened that night — or understand just how so noble a man could be lost so quickly and so pointlessly.

And few of us can probably imagine why anyone would get so angry that he could take a life — especially over what seems like such an insignificant argument.

But we can all learn a lesson from Wright about how to live a life — and how we would all like to be remembered.

The airman was known for his work with children and his community service. He was known as a friend to all and someone who could be counted on to serve in whatever capacity he could.

That is the way his family and friends will remember him — and that is how his community should, too.

The way Wright died is nothing short of a tragedy — and a lesson for anyone who thinks that an argument is worth the risk or that the swipe of a knife in anger can be taken back once the heat of the moment is over.

And if one life is saved because someone remembers to think first before acting irrationally in anger, perhaps Wright will not have died in vain.

In the meantime, we can all think about following Wright’s example of how his friends say he lived his life, with honor and dignity.

Published in Editorials on February 7, 2007 1:00 PM