02/27/08 — Tragic loss: Honor those who lost their lives by remembering lesson

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Tragic loss: Honor those who lost their lives by remembering lesson

When you are a young person, it is hard to believe that anything bad will ever happen to you.

You might see the stories on television about what happens to young people who get behind the wheel of a car after drinking, but you can never imagine that such a consequence would happen to you. After all, you are invincible.

Adults talk and warn of the dangers, but it is still not real.

And unless tragedy touches your life, either through the death of a friend or family member, you still don’t really understand just how dangerous driving a car while impaired in any way can be.

For some Wayne County students this week, that lesson has now been learned.

Two young men, both with promising futures, both with lots more life to live, lost their lives last week in a car crash that should not have happened. Their lives ended because of a tragic mistake.

There can be no worse pain than losing a friend or a child so unnecessarily. Our hearts go out to their families and those who loved them. We cannot imagine how hard it would be to deal with such a loss.

This week, tributes were laid at the site of the crash — real-life mementos of the young men who will not get to finish out their lives, who were lost in only a moment.

The families of these two young men should be proud that they touched so many and that their loss has so affected their community.

But the best tribute to these young men is to make sure we do not lose any more of Wayne County’s young people in such a senseless way. And to do that, we have to teach the rest of our students and young adults that they are playing with their lives when they get behind the wheel after drinking.

And this time, tragically, we have a real-life example to share.

It only takes a moment to make a mistake that changes your life forever. It might seem worth the risk at the time — after all, you are in control, you have not been affected by a couple of drinks.

But imagine for a moment that you aren’t in control, that you really don’t have the reaction time or judgment that you need — and you encounter another driver on the road.

In a flash, your life could be changed forever.

The prom season is coming up — as are graduation and other celebrations.

Think before you drink — and most importantly — take the keys away from someone you know should not be driving.

You really could save a life.

Published in Editorials on February 27, 2008 11:07 AM