September 24, 2001
In the face of tragedy, next generation gives reason for hope
Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001, will live in the minds and hearts of all of us. Many lives were changed forever. One of those was mine. Mine was changed because of a hero that showed up that day in my neighborhood right here in Woodinville.
On Thursday, Sept. 13, one of the fifth-grade classes at Wellington Elementary discussed what they could do to help the victims of the attack on Tuesday. The class discussed collecting money for the American Red Cross. Specific plans were not set though. That day, one of those students came home with a clear direction in his head.
He took out his CD player and a CD entitled "Sing America." He took this outside and set them up on a table he erected. Signs were made requesting donations for the Red Cross.
This normally stranger-shy child sat at the end of the family driveway playing "God Bless America" and "The Star Spangled Banner." He recruited his sister, Christine, to assist him in the endeavor.
They played the music as loud as it could be played. Many neighbors heard the blaring music. I was personally moved to patriotic tears. I was also moved to tears at what these children were doing, the goodness in their hearts ‹ the desire they had to make a difference, no matter how small.
The next day, a sign was outside the drive that said, "Thanks! Over $500 was collected." In the 2 1/2 hours they sat outside that Thursday, these kids had collected a considerable amount of money.
On Saturday, this boy awoke at 7 a.m., determined to set up again and increase the donations. He spent the entire day outside by his post. His sister joined him for much of that day. That day, they collected $260.
I witnessed this hero take a giant step toward manhood, even though he is only 10 years old. I witnessed a goodness that came so easily and with much conviction in a young man. I experienced how the desire to do the right thing can be so compelling that nothing else mattered.
This hero is my son, Brian Nafziger. I could not be more proud of the humanity he has shown. I could not be more proud of the commitment to the right thing that he showed. I could not be more proud of the example he set for all of us.
God bless America, and God bless this next generation that gives us such reason to hope.
Meg Nafziger, Woodinville