The picture on the left is the day, in fact the moment, that President Reagan was shot in 1981. The picture on the right was taken by me yesterday. With the exception of the flowers that have been added, the area outside the hotel is about the same. If the walls could talk.
This spot represents a defining moment in our history. In addition to the shooting of a president, there were others shot on that day also. One was the White House Press Secretary, James Brady. And although there was strong reaction to handguns when John Lennon was shot in 1980, and there were organizations already in existence advocating gun legislation, it was the catapulting of James Brady into a situation that he never saw himself as a gun shooting survivor, that moved gun control into a direction that no one could have ever predicted.
James Brady and his wife, Sarah, made it their life’s mission.
Now I’m not here to discuss the pros and cons of gun control, I have neither the expertise nor the knowledge to say one way or another. I am, as many know, a lover of history and historic events. And there is much to take away from this incident that has a direct relation to you and me and yes, believe it or not; diabetes. That ‘take-away’ is the defining moment.
As I stood today in the very same spot that would grip headlines all around the world, and would cause havoc in four people’s lives and worry a nation for days while the President recovered, I was struck by the complete lack of knowledge of everyone coming and going through these doors today. Did they know? Do they realize? If you are a gun control advocate, to you, this would be sacred ground—-not only because of what happened but because of what it represents. It was here that two people were thrust into a life they wanted no part of, had no plans to be part of until fate stepped in and changed their lives, and yet they made a decision that the life they knew “would just not do”.
And it is that very thing that relates THIS place to us. Everyone of us who either have a child with diabetes, or has diabetes, has had to deal with a moment, THE moment, when fate stepped in. A defining moment. A moment where once the grief subsides, we are left with a decision on what happens next.
My ‘entrance to a hotel’ was Stony Brook Hospital where my daughter was in a crib-like bed when I saw her for the first time after she was diagnosed with T1D and I pledged to my daughter that we would ‘fix’ this diabetes. Diabetes may never be given the platform of becoming such an event in our everyday lives which garners national headlines to ‘start a movement’, but it will always be a defining moment to each one of us as individuals. Will you take the moment, remember it, and do something about it? Will you just ‘don’t do nothing’, as I have stated a million times?
The day impacted all of those involved. From becoming a pastor, to retiring, to becoming a chief of police, to possibly redefining a man’s presidency, to becoming advocates for a cause as James and Sarah Brady did. Some twelve years later, President Clinton signed a bill that the Bradys had fought for bearing his name. Their defining moment had been realized.
Although some things take time, remember that when fighting for things that we feel is important, the things we fight for WILL come to pass. They must. Because a defining moment in our lives gave us the power to succeed in whatever it is that we decide is important. From making sure our kids will get back as close to a normal life as possible, to changing the laws in our land; it comes down to each of us making a decision at a moment in time that defines us. What was yours and what did you decide to do about it? What will you decide to do about it………today?!?!?!
I am a diabetes dad.
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