Monday April 27 marks the 19-year anniversary of the Oak Hill Middle School bus crash – the tragedy that took Steve Glidden, Greg Chan, Kayla Rosenberg, and Melissa Leung from their families, friends and futures. Nineteen years has felt like an eternity and at the same time, as the mere blink of an eye.
Because of the need to be physically distant (while remaining socially connected), our community’s annual “Circle of Remembrance” will take place virtually this year, via Zoom, on April 27 at 6 pm Eastern time in front of the device of your choice (laptop, tablet, phone, whatever). Despite these limitations, we will gather nonetheless — as we have done each and every year on this date — in love, resilience, and connection.
No “registration” is needed, and in fact, none is even possible because SGF is using Zoom’s “basic” account plan, which, while free of charge, is also somewhat limited. The basic plan also comes with a limit of 100 participants. For that reason, if you would like the login link, just drop a brief note to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll gladly send it to you. We’ll do whatever we can to accommodate everyone.
In addition to serving as a remembrance for Steve, Kayla, Melissa and Greg, the Circle of Remembrance gathering has grown to honor the memories of others who are missed deeply. This year in particular, there are so many more whose memories we need to cherish, or who may be ill or in harm’s way. We will hold them all close.
This year, the Circle will also serve as an occasion to honor and thank Newton’s Mayor Fuller, other municipal leaders, and our amazing healthcare providers, first responders and essential workers. We are all so much safer because of their valiant efforts. Thank you all.
As you may know, the Circle of Remembrance has never followed a defined “program” or “service.” Rather, it loosely resembles a Quaker-style “Friends” meeting at which everyone is welcome, and anyone can participate. Accordingly, feel free to speak from your heart, read a poem, sing a song, or contribute in whatever other way you wish, should you feel so moved. If you prefer to be present yet remain silent, that is of course fine as well.
In prior years, those who were out of town, occupied, or otherwise unable to join us in person have sent letters, notes, emails or texts expressing their thoughts, sometimes with a request that their message be read aloud at the gathering. The silver lining this year is that all this is still possible, but for the first time, out of towners can join as well, as their schedules permit. Welcome back home!
Over the years, we have compiled people’s favorite passages into a booklet entitled “We Remember,” which we encourage you to download and use as you see fit.
Finally, if you are unable to join us on April 27, please take a moment to pause, reflect, and remember Steve, Kayla, Melissa, Greg, and the now tens of thousands of others we wish were still here with us, and to thank our beloved first contact responders and supporters for all they do for our community.
Please do not hesitate to get in touch should you have any questions. And. as always, we thank you for being there for and with us for all these years.