Today is a sad day in Stillwater, Oklahoma, and for North America. Whether we follow football or not, we do know that to us it is a time honored tradition in our colleges and universities to experience Homecoming Weekend. This is a time when current students and families, and previous graduates, attendees, staff, townies, come together to join in the excitement of the 'BIG GAME'. There is often a parade in the morning, the game in the afternoon, and then a dance, or prom, in the evening.
But today's celebratory atmosphere during the parade at Oklahoma State University (OSU) was marked by tragedy. A car plowed into an unmanned police motorcycle, and then proceeded on into the crowd of celebrants. At the time of this writing, there are 3 dead, at least 34 injured, and 8 victims were airlifted to area hospitals.
The game, of course, was not cancelled. When it began, the players and coaches held a moment of silence in the center of the field. The bodies of the deceased were still laying where they landed less than 3 blocks away. Many will ask why the game was not cancelled. They will wonder if this means that the lives lost and those harmed were not of enough importance to focus on that tragic event, instead of a sports event.
I say, whether they played the game against Kansas or not, nothing would have been changed by cancelling the game. It would not have brought the dead back to life. It would not really have brought comfort to those who were injured, or to the families of all of the victims. They are not paying attention to the fact that the game was played. They are grieving, clinging to one another, mourning the losses and the injured lives. I can tell you, if it was anyone close to me, I would not have cared one way or another about whether the game was played or not.
Also, many people traveled many miles, and spent quite a bit of money to be there. Would that be fair, to cancel the game? If this had been an ongoing crime scene, with events still occurring, then yes, it might have been the wise thing to do to cancel. But it was not. The woman who was driving had already been subdued and arrested. Those injured were receiving care. Those who were shaken up just because they were there were recovering from the terror of that moment.
It is indeed a day of tragedy. We must pray that the survivors do just that...survive. We also must pray for peace, for any assistance the victims and families need to be provided, and that answers will be given as soon as possible. This tragedy is not just for today. It will continue as people try to make sense of the accident, as the victims recover from their injuries and put their lives back together, and as the families and friends of those who died today lay their loved ones to rest, and mourn. And there is another person, and another family, who will have a road to travel as well, the driver of the car and her loved ones. We are called to remember them and pray for them as well.
It is a sad day in Stillwater, Oklahoma. I don't know who won the game, and I don't care. I care only that people remember, and learn from this. I pray for forgiveness and healing, by the grace of the Lord Jesus.