Thursday, December 4, 2014

The day the music died.

Around 12:55 a.m. Central Time on the morning of February 3, 1959, pilot Roger Peterson taxied to Runway 17. The weather report indicated light snow and a ceiling of 1,500 meters with winds from 47-60 kmh.

Soon after takeoff Peterson became disoriented, due to the inclement weather and the altitude indicator, and lost control of the plane. Less than five miles into the trip, the tip of the right wing struck the ground and the aircraft tumbled across a cornfield in Iowa, never making the final destination of Fargo, North Dakota.

Don McLean's 1971-song American Pie immortalized the day the music died because the world lost musicians Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson on that ill-fated flight. Their stories have been told, and retold.

We forget though about Roger Peterson, the 21-year old pilot at the helm who also perished that day. Five months earlier, Peterson had married his high school sweetheart, Deanne Lenz. They resided in Clear Lake, Iowa, just a short drive from Mason where Roger was working for Dwyer Flying Service.

Peterson may not have had the impact on the world that Holly, Valens and Richardson had. However, he did have an impact on the world around him - his wife, his friends, his family.

Your path may open the way for you to reach millions and influence them greatly. Or, your journey may allow you to reach those around you, and no further. It doesn't matter really. Whether you are impacting millions or just a few, you still matter. And, you have a purpose. Live your purpose. Live it to the full.

An incident this morning reminded me of the brevity of life, and of those we tend to forget while we hold others up in song and movies.

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