"Who cares about a bunch of people in Austria." This was my thought on November 13, 2000.

I was in Boston, MA, for a vendor training class. I was watching the news and there was a story about a cable car fire in Austria. I wondered why the news was even covering this story, and I thought it is the same reason that we are so facinated by plane crashes: it is something big that we cannot control that can end our lives in an instant. I was also somewhat disturbed by the natural tendency we have to cover human tragedy to death (pardon the pun).

The next day, I am reading the paper in my training class and just skip over that story, because who really cares about a bunch of people in Austria. As memory serves, this was on Tuesday, the 14th.

On Friday I went back home to my town just north of New York City. It was there that one of my roommates said "Did you hear about what happened to Erich?" Erich Kern was a friend of mine for several years, but left home to join the army back in 1996. He was the captain of his football team, an eagle scout in the Boy Scouts of America, and a volunteer with the local ambulance service. Well, it ends up that he and his fiancee decided to go skiing with a group from their army base on November 11th, 2000. They were last seen entering the Austrian cable car that caught fire in a tunnel on that fateful day in Novemember.

It was on November 11th, 2000 that Capt. Erich R. Kern and his fiancee 2nd Lt. Carrie Baker died. And forever forward I will care every time I hear about a bunch of people in Austria, or a bunch of people in China, or a bunch of people anywhere.

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