Today is Friday the 13th. Friday the 13th is considered to be the unluckiest day in the Gregorian Calendar. For many people, it is a day to take caution, stay indoors, avoid black cats, ladders and mirrors, and reach out for their good luck charms for protection. Not a good day if you suffer from friggatriskaidekaphobia, the fear of Friday the 13th.
And today is the third Friday the 13th to occur in 2015, only one of 11 times that there will be three in one year during the 21st Century. It happened in 2009, then this year and will not occur again until 2026 and then 2037.
For me, today is a special extra Friday the 13th as I count myself blessed and fortunate. It was a day of terror in Paris, France as Muslim extremists hit a number of locations and killed many innocent citizens in an instant. Heart-wrenching.
The major killings took place at a rock concert in a theatre in Paris. Over 100 were killed. The performing band members got out alive, but the person working their merch table didn’t. I have worked the merch tables many times for Antsy McClain shows. Indeed, if a shooting occurs, you are probably first in line.
My heart goes out to all of the people whose lives have been impacted. Those who lost loved ones and those who will suffer injuries. And especially those who survived the attacks and may feel guilt as a survivor.
I count myself blessed and lucky to arise and partake of another day of life.
But, Paris is not the only city suffering. Just the day before, Thursday the 12th, 43 people were killed in Beirut while going about their normal evening business after a double suicide bombing attack took place in the , a bustling urban area.
They had no idea. They were working, drinking coffee at a coffee stand, chopping vegetables in a market.
Lives were shattered. Buildings and property were destroyed.
And again, on this Friday the 13th, I count myself lucky and blessed to be alive.
The dates 11/12/15 and 11/13/15 will mean much to many people. Many Americans look back at 9/11/2001. Indeed, we just call it Nine-Eleven and all know what it means. That day saw 2,996 people lose their lives and trillions of dollars of damage as buildings were destroyed. I watched in horror on television as the two Twin Towers collapsed in only 1 hour and 42 minutes. Just a couple of years earlier, I had been on top of one of those towers. I am still awestruck at how quickly they fell.
At that time I was grateful to be alive and in a relatively safe place called Lexington, Kentucky.
But, on this Friday the 13th, I count myself and blessed to be alive. Because these acts of violence can occur anywhere, at anytime. We never know when our innocent lives will be shattered while going about our own business. Like 9/11 or 11/12 or 11/13, there are many other dates that many people in this world memorialize. Many innocent lives were taken without warning. Many lives were shattered. And, on this Friday the 13th I want to at least note some of them from around the world, because, like 9/11, these dates are just as significant to the people affected.
- 1/7/15 – Charlie Hebdo Offices in Paris attacked, 11 killed
- 7/20/12 – Movie theater shooting in Denver, 12 killed
- 4/20/99 – Columbine High School shooting, 12 killed
- 12/14/12 – Sandy Hook Elementary shooting in Newtown, CT, 26 killed
- 10/10/15 – Ankara, Turkey bombings, 102 killed, 400 injured
- 4/19/95 – Oklahoma City Murrah Federal Building bombed, 168 killed
- 8/1/66 – University of Texas-Austin shooting, 17 killed
- 3/21/05 – Red Lake Senior High, Red Lake, MN shooting, 10 killed
- 4/16/07 – Virginia Tech shooting, 33 killed, 25 injured
- 2/14/08 – Northern Illinois University shooting in DeKalb, IL, 6 killed
- 10/24/14 – Marysville, Washington shooting at a school, 5 killed
- 10/1/15 – Umpqua Community College Shooting in Roseburg, OR, 10 killed
- 6/17/15 – Charleston, SC Church Shooting, 9 killed
- 7/22/11 – Oslo, Norway bombings, 73 killed
- 4/18/83 – US Embassy in Beirut bombed, 63 killed
- 10/23/83 – Beirut bombings, 307 killed
- 12/21/88 – Lockerbie Pan Am 103 aircraft bombing in Scotland, 270 killed
- 8/7/98 – US Embassies in Tanzania and Kenya bombed, 223 killed, 4000 inured
And the list of dates goes on and on and on. One minute you are minding your own business and the next you could be dead from a random act of violence. Of course, there are all of the other random shootings at gas stations, convenience stores, fast food restaurants, schools, churches and businesses.
Today I am alive. I am grateful for this blessing each day. In the meantime, my prayers go out to all who have lost loved ones or have suffered from random acts of violence around the world. It is a lucky Friday the 13th for me. But for many, it is not.