I've spent the last few days talking about the injuries the team and I have taken. I want to take today to give my thanks to the seven volunteers from this community who gave their lives in the attack.
Jerome: survived by his wife and daughter. He was the man who first started securing this massive complex by blocking off the spaces between the buildings. Because of him, the children here have a safe place to play, the adults a space to meet outdoors without fear of attack.
Micheal: Jerome's brother, a bachelor. Mike, I've learned, was a fantastic cook who enjoyed making people's favorite meals when the opportunity presented itself. Food is such a basic need, but this guy knew a beloved dish could satisfy the innate need for little pleasures in life, giving his people a needed boost.
Amelia: A quiet woman who lost her family to The Fall. She was one of a group that started gardening on the rooftops, working alone for hours on end to lovingly make green things grow atop these concrete monoliths.
Keshia: Survived by her two sons. Middle-aged, Keshia was, before The Fall, a combat instructor for the state police. She passed on her vast knowledge of armed and unarmed fighting to her children and the entire community here, giving them the tools to save themselves and the confidence to use them.
Jordan: A scout who spent almost all his waking hours outside the safety of the buildings. He relentlessly searched out food and supplies. From what I understand, Jordan was not a very likable man. He was abrasive and loud, yet very well respected for the risks he took and the returns he brought home.
"Sparky": No one knew his real name. In a community predominantly made up of people of color, Sparky stood out. He was old, at least in his early sixties, and he looked a bit like Santa Claus with his shaggy white hair and beard. He wasn't fat (who could be, anymore?) and I'm told that early on he felt very out of his element. Sparky grew to be loved deeply by the people who knew him, and he always had a story to tell any kids that sat around him.
Adam: One of the co-founders of this community, Adam was a freshman in college when The Fall came about. Almost from day one, Adam led people in the right direction, saving lives and giving hope. His candle burned out far too soon, but his legacy among these survivors will endure for a very long time--his girlfriend is pregnant with their child.
Words can never be enough to express the gratitude I feel toward these seven people. Their bravery was total, their commitment absolute. In a world where self-preservation is the most important instinct to cultivate, they gave of themselves instead.
And so, I say this to their departed spirits as a thank-you:
I may not have a god to call my own, but in each of you I see a sliver of the divine. For my life and that of my friends, I thank you. Each of you chose to be a positive force, to help others, and in so doing did tangible good. But your actions go far beyond that, teaching the young by example to care for others. You showed adults jaded by the horrors of experience that doing the right thing is possible and fulfilling even in a world like this one. You were, and are, heroes. For your deaths, brought about in an attempt to save others through action, and for your lives, which were testaments to strength of character and determination. I live to write these words because of you, and if there is justice in the universe, you can feel the love in them.
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