When one Eagle cries, we all hurt

Published 4:38 pm Friday, April 24, 2015

Early Wednesday morning, the unthinkable happened. A car accident caused stop-and-go traffic on I-16 near Savannah, and, according to reports, a semi truck failed to slow for the stalled traffic. Subsequently a seven-car pileup took the lives of five Georgia Southern students and hospitalized two more.

The young women were all in their first year of nursing school, on the way to their last day of clinicals for the school year.

It’s been a rough couple of days for anyone connected to the Georgia Southern community, even for those who didn’t know the girls personally, and I can’t even begin to fathom the pain felt by the women’s friends and families.

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Georgia Southern is no stranger to loss. It’s seen students killed by drunken drivers and bar fights, suicide and unknown heart conditions. But something is different about this: There’s nothing we can do and nothing we could have done to prevent this.

We can’t just educate students on the importance of finding a safe ride home from the bars; we can’t rally legislatures to combat underage drinking; we can’t promote the counseling center for students who may feel lost; and we can’t just put more defibrillators around campus.

This was an accident, a horrible, freak accident, and no one knows why it happened. And that scares us. It scares us because life is short and unpredictable.

It scares us because bad things can happen to anyone. It scares us because loss is so difficult to deal with.

I want to encourage everyone to hold their loved ones whenever they get a chance, say “I love you” every day and never, ever forget these young women and the lives they touched.

Thoughts and prayers are being sent to the families of Emily Clark, Morgan Abbie Deloach, Catherine “McKay” Pittman and Caitlyn Baggett.

Everyone is also hoping for a speedy and full recovery for Brittney McDaniel and Megan Richards.

“When one Eagle cries, we all hurt.”