On February 3, 1959, Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper died in a plane crash shortly after takeoff, and inspired one of the most recognizable tunes of all time: American Pie (Bye, bye Miss American Pie), by Don Mclean – a song he says was inspired by his reaction to reading the account of the crash in the morning paper. Fast forward nearly 20 years to the morning paper for September 6, 1997, and one can only imagine the emotions evoked by the duel headlines: “The World Mourns Diana” and “Revered Mother Teresa Dies”. Two people – one young, one old… one living in abundance, one living in squalor… one with the soft skin of a new-born babe, one with wrinkles upon wrinkles… one incredibly rich, one overwhelmingly poor – yet both committed to making a difference in the lives of the needy… the infirm… the neglected… the destitute. In the blink of an eye, both passed into eternity, leaving a mantle just begging to be picked up by those whose lives they had touched.
What about you? What about me? Truth be told, we’re all just Candles in the Wind. What acts of kindness, goodness, and humble service are filling our days while our candles are still burning? Stirred emotions can be a salve for the soul if they lead to action. Have you picked up their mantel? Have I? Who among us is selflessly helping those who are unable to help themselves?
Yet another set of heart-challenging thoughts (questions) ran through my mind as my damp eyes leafed through the pages of The Arizona Republic (September 6, 1997) , passed over the various images of Princess Di and Mother Teresa, absorbed the printed lyrics of The Candle in the Wind (by Elton John), and settled on the photo of the two, together, only months prior to their deaths:
What song does Mother Teresa get? Princess Di gets “A Candle in the Wind”, and the Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper get “American Pie”, but what about Mother Teresa? Who sings for her? And the 2nd question…
If February 3, 1959 is The Day The Music Died, then what is September 6th (or 5th), 1997? I’d love to know your thoughts.