OUR OPINION: Keep Forkland family, friends in prayers

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Two states away, tragedy hit home in the early morning hours Monday. The small town of Forkland was rocked by the news that a bus carrying members of the Jackson family had wrecked, killing a much-loved matriarch and injuring more than 60 other people.

It is one of those stories that reaches from a long distance to touch you. These people were on their way home from a family reunion in New York. It was a time of celebration and family and love.

If this family were from Mississippi instead, no ties to our area, we would have shaken our heads, said a silent little prayer and went on about our lives. It would have touched us &8212; because human nature dictates that we all feel a slight tinge of pain for others &8212; but it would have given us little pause.

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But that was not the case. It touched us directly. These people were our neighbors, our family and our friends.

At this newspaper, it touched the life of our classifieds representative, Bernice McAlpine-Smith, who was related to many on the bus, including the Forkland native who died, Carrie Walton. Walton was also McAlpine-Smith&8217;s mom&8217;s best friend, which made it even harder to accept.

In the end, we are hopeful that those who are injured will recover. While we pray for the loved ones who grieve Walton and the bus driver, Abraham Parker, who died Tuesday, we pray there is no one else to grieve.

Those who were not injured or who were treated and released are making their way home. They&8217;ll be back in the safe confides of their homes in short order.

We hope they soon move past this accident. Though they will surely never forget the events of Monday morning, we hope someday they are overshadowed by the joy and love that was the point of their trip. That may be wishful thinking, but we hope not.