Life and death, war and peace, love and loss: The 11/11/11 Connection
Last Friday, at 11 o’clock on the dot, our studio fell silent for two minutes.
It takes something rather important to bring the OM production line to a standstill.
Veterans Day, November 11, is one such occasion.
Right across the United States and beyond, people stopped to remember the sacrifices that have been made in an attempt to make this Earth a more perfect place.
Celebrating peace and harmony, togetherness and tolerance, all qualities that mean a great deal to us here in Saunderstown.
The ultimate in connection, a silence to be savoured.
Not everyone could keep quiet, however.
For although the population paused to commemorate all those to have given up their lives for the greater good, the planet continued to turn.
The circle of life, some call it and never before has that phrase felt more apt.
For even as the signing of the Armistice in 1919 was being marked, in hospitals throughout the land babies were being born left, right and center.
Some arrived at 11am, others during the subsequent two minutes, ensuring that there, at least, the prescribed period of silence could not be observed, although, under the circumstances, that can be forgiven.
More still – and it’s remarkable, this – hung on until 11:11am.
Given the date – 11/11/11 – it’s clear that these babies have a superior sense of occasion.
Babies such as Kelsey Vastenburg, born in Utica, NY, whose proud father Aaron is a serving marine.
“It’s a special moment, not just because it’s her birthday, but because she is sharing it with something important for this country,” he said.
Kelsey’s mom, Allison, added: “I’m glad she’ll grow up knowing not only that it’s her birthday, but that she’ll also remember it’s Veterans Day, and that you have to thank everyone who has given their lives to this country.”
Inspirational stuff, but Kelsey’s not alone. Far from it, in fact.
Because with countless others, she’ll always share a striking connection.
Others including Jacob Saydeh, born 11:11am, 11/11/11 in Mount Holly, NJ.
Jacob’s father, USAF Staff Sergeant Chris Saydeh, enlisted a decade ago.
“I joined because of 9/11,” he explained. “I used to work at the World Trade Center, I called out that day.”
That is something we can all respect, a special connection in itself.
Jacob’s mother, Danielle, is, herself, a veteran.
“I think it’s fitting he came on Veterans Day,” she said. “I think it was meant to be.”
There are more, of course.
Isabella Reyes from San Jose, CA; Cierra Hotrum from South Bend, IN; Madison Square from Meridan, MS; Quentin Miller from Carmel, IN, to name but a handful.
Further afield, in Oxford, England, Amelia Allen-Miles also arrived at 11:11am.
Her middle name is Poppy, a moniker to mark the special occasion shared by her birthday.
For us, this completes the connection.
It’s a connection that has countless faces: Life and death, war and peace, hope and horror, love and loss.
It’s a connection that has old wounds and new starts.
It’s a connection that spans the generations and one that is destined to endure.
The silence has ended in our studio, the production line has restarted and the OMs are flying out once again to destinations near and far.
But this has made us think: about how we’re connected by dates, how we’re connected by events and, above all, how we’re connected by common humanity.
With that in mind, here’s to our valiant veterans and here’s to those beautiful babies.
Here’s to 11/11/11, whatever it might mean to you.
We are all connected.