It has been several months since I posted a blog here with personal reflections on 9/11. Unfortunately, the timing of this Memorial Day blog compels yet another reflection on tragedy but with a small suggestion for what each of us might do to make this post Memorial Day different from years past.

For many, Memorial Day is the celebration of the unofficial start of summer while we also pay homage to those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. Both are good and right things to do. But I would be completely tone deaf not to acknowledge the recent tragedies in Buffalo, NY and Uvalde, Texas.

These devastating events are becoming more frequent. The perpetrators ever younger, sometimes acting out publicly for the first time, being previously unknown to law enforcement. But they were likely aware to someone, somewhere. Big sweeping answers are elusive and have not proven to be realistic for reasons from the scope of the various issues to tribal politics. Rather than lament, I suggest we all start small.

The artist Vincent Van Gogh has been quoted as saying “great things are done by a series of small things brought together.” So in the spirit of that sentiment, after the family picnics, parades and memorial tributes become a memory, reflect and act on one small thing you CAN do.

Communicate when you witness a person who seems to have been moved to violent behavior or attitude. Advocate or volunteer for a local group already created to address the issues of violence in society. Perhaps something as simple as making your views known to your local policy makers–in schools, in community groups, and yes, even in politics.

Finally, sending thoughts and prayers to the victims and their families may not be the answer, but it is still a good and right thing to do.

Stay safe,