I read last week about an open letter written by parents of the 16 high school classmates who were killed on that horrible Germanwings plane crash back in March.  The devastating loss for these parents and their community is unfathomable. 

I decided to read the letter in German (I am bi-lingual) to understand where the parents were coming from. Translations sometime lose the essence of the message.

The letter was addressed to Lufthansa Chief Executive Carsten Spohr. It didn’t take long for the parents to get to the point. In the second sentence, they stated that the airline had put ads in newspapers at the time of the memorial service in Cologne. In the third sentence, they said that Mr. Spohr did not speak to them. In the fourth line, they said that he had seen them both at the memorial in Haltern (their hometown) and in Cologne.

And by the end of this short paragraph, they delivered the blow. A few personal words would have shown them that Mr. Spohr was there for them … rather than just showing it publicly.

I decided to do a bit of research about the ads. Here’s what they said:

We’re mourning for the passengers and colleagues who lost their lives on 24 March 2015 in the Germanwings plane crash near Seyne-les-Alpes.

We will never forget them.

I totally get it.

That ad is so very impersonal. No mention of the children, the families or the community and their loss. A reference to where the crash took place. Really? Like every one didn’t already know?

And to top it all off, no words of comfort at the memorial services.

Who knows why the president didn’t speak to them. Perhaps at the advice of lawyers? Maybe a loss of words? It could be he was worried about showing his emotions?

It really doesn’t matter. The bottom line is that nothing could bring these children back. Understandably, in their grief, these parents felt unacknowledged. This caused conflict for them and compelled them to write this letter. Such a simple gesture would have made all the difference to them.

So, like many other topics I post about, I will try to apply this one to my own life and think more about making sure that I acknowledge others … no matter how hard it might be.


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