I am reminded in reading the following article from the AP, ‘Yellow Ribbons Strung for Missing Teen Fade in Sun, Along With Hopes of Solving Mystery in Aruba’, of a couple of very important lessons that I have learned in life. One being do not ever give up even when times seem difficult and overwhelming. The other is do not ever forget as we will be destined to repeat history. It appears that these lessons need to be taught again after reading this article that borders on the giving up of hope and eager willingness of many especially those quoted in Aruba to just move on and forget. One message is for the Holloway’s and Twitty’s, the other for many in Aruba.
ORANJESTAD, Aruba (AP) – The yellow ribbons inviting people to keep an eye out for a missing Alabama teenager still flutter on tree trunks and telephone poles but they’re unraveling and fading in the sun, along with hopes of solving the mystery of her disappearance more than six weeks ago.
All one needs to do is look at Natalee’s mom to understand and know what true courage is in the face of adversity. The strength that Beth has shown even when times were more difficult than others can only make one admire her as a mother and a person. I have never met Beth nor ever spoken to her although I wish I did have the privilege and opportunity. I would just like to take the moment to say that Tom, I and the many Scared Monkeys that have never met you are solidly behind you in support and hope.
I am reminded of a previous moving event during this difficult time for the Holloway’s and Twitty’s where time and days pass without finding Natalee, media attention wanes, search efforts cease and defeatists attitudes seem to permeate the landscape. When times are difficult and all seems hopeless I point back in time to a moment that has nothing to do with me personally, politically or socially. The date March 4, 1993 and the place was the ESPY Awards. What was one of the most memorable sports speeches since Lou Gehrig, Jimmy Valvano gave his now famous, “Don’t Give Up, Don’t Ever Give Up Speech“.
“We should do three things every day of our lives. Number one, laugh. You should laugh every day. Number two is think. You should spend some time in thought. Number three is that you should have your emotions moved to tears.
“If you laugh, if you think and if you cry, that’s a heck of a day,” he says. “You do that seven days a week, you’re going to have something special.”
“Cancer can take away all my physical abilities. But it can not touch my mind and it can not touch my heart and it can not touch my soul. And those three things are going to carry on forever.”
The other lesson in life that I would like to remind all, especially the Aruban people who seem to have this attitude that some how their lives are going to go back to normal because Natalee’s disappearance will be forgotten and somehow it is because that Natalee Holloway came to their island that caused this inconvenience for them. I would also say to the media; cover the story or don’t cover the story that is your business decision to make. However, do not further add to the difficulties and the burdens of a family by reminding them of the difficult plight they face or for whom or what this story is truly about.
Islanders who suddenly found themselves and their tourist-oriented Dutch Caribbean paradise thrust into the international limelight are longing for life to return to normal.
“Every time I see one of those ribbons I think of her and so do most Arubans. But it’s too painful to go on looking, and not finding her,” said Julia Renfro, an American who has lived in Aruba for 16 years and whose International Friends of Aruba organized search parties for Holloway.
Do you honestly think that life in Aruba will ever go back to the way it was? The idea that this will ever be forgotten by Americans especially depending on the manner in which this case is prosecuted or if Natalee is ever found. Perception is everything and it is that perception that seems to be coming out from some in Aruba that they want to forget that the Natalee Holloway disappearance ever occurred and go back in time. As if it were an inconvenience. A word to the wise, people never remember how the race started, they remember how it ended and who won. What we do in life and the image we present to all is what we are all remembered by. I truly hope that all Arubans keep this in mind in the coming days in dealing with the families of Natalee, the search and the hopeful prosecution of this crime.
“We all cried when Natalee went missing. But it was an isolated incident. We want things to go back to where Aruba was before she came,” said housewife Myriam Croes, 52.
She was among more than 200 people who, wrapped in Aruban flags, demonstrated last week in front of the capital courthouse, saying they believed their island was being falsely portrayed as not doing enough to find Holloway.
It really does not matter whether this is an isolated incident, that does not make it any less worthy than if it were a common occurrence. However, it may just be this type of attitude that is commonplace. The problem Mrs .Croes is not that Natalee “came” to your island,the problem is that she “disappeared/vanished” on your island. However, one begins to wonder what changes in attitudes begin to take place when one’s place of residence falls under the scope of the media criticism?
Like most Arubans, Croes no longer believes that Holloway is on the island. She hopes she is still alive, but “maybe she drowned, was carried out to sea, or was eaten by sharks. It’s a mystery,” she said.
Some taxi drivers still have photos of Holloway in their vehicles, and most Arubans sigh and shake their heads when her name is mentioned. But the story has slipped off the front pages of local newspapers. On radio talk shows, people increasingly voice their indignation at slurs on their island.
Life’s events are not soon forgotten as we do not wish to repeat them. What we do, and say in life and by our actions are remembered forever. This disconnect that seems to be occurring between America and Aruba in this case seems to be creating a greater divide as the days go on. When there is a grieving mother who most likely has lost her daughter and may never have closure, no one wants to hear what someone did in the beginning. They want to see what you did in the end. Compassion is a funny thing, its not supposed to go away just because of hurt feelings or because of being inconvenienced because a disappearance case went on longer than you would have liked.
“The heart of every mother in the U.S. has been touched by Natalee’s disappearance,” said Frank Guarani.
“The terrible thing is, there’s no closure here,” said his sister Marie Mangin, 78, from West Orange, New Jersey.
That failure is something Holloway’s mother, Beth Holloway Twitty, is not prepared to contemplate. “Everybody wants to know the ending. But we don’t know if we’re searching for Natalee alive or not alive, “she said.
Let us take a moment and remember what this situation is all about. It is of the vanishing of a teenage girl and the desperate search for her who’s only guilt was going on vacation to celebrate her high school graduation. Remember when you decide to be tough on the family for acting in any manner with the grief they are going through. Remember this when Beth says things out of sheer grief and pain. Remember this when the loss of a child to a parent is more precious an valuable than any economic dollar amount.
But now, even as she plans to stay on the island indefinitely, she says “she knows my life will never be the same“.