My day job requires me to write about tragedy.

All day long, I write about regular people getting hurt or dying because someone else couldn’t be bothered to slow down profits to make some repairs, or take a week to make sure employees were working in safe conditions.

It’s hard sometimes, frankly.

Today I looked at 8 different articles from 3 sources reporting on a barge accident. An explosion killed two young people—a 26-year-old and a 28-year-old—and it was essentially caused by shortsighted, callous choices.

I take those stories personally.

I’m not a barge worker or a roughneck; I barely need to stand for my work, much less do physical labor. At the same time, these stories I report on are about folks I have a lot in common with—people who have families to support and rent to pay and groceries to buy. Like me, most of them wouldn’t have made the news if they hadn’t suffered a terrible tragedy. We’re united in how completely unremarkable we are, in our deeply remarkable, human way.

If I’m being honest, I feel like writing my blogs and write-ups is my contribution to their memory. It may not mean anything to their loved ones that a stranger cared about their lives, their ambitions, or the needless tragedy of their deaths. But regardless of what little it does, we owe it to them to remember them and carry their names around in our hearts. Even if just for a little while.

Remembering Their Names