David Gilkey

Posted: 06/16/2016 in In Bosnia

As I sit here, I remember how David and I counted the 10 wars and conflicts still going on in the world, and how he advised the youth not to go into war zones on their own, without someone securing them..Then I asked if he ever felt it was time to do something else. He said all of his assignments were different, so he wasn’t looking for something else yet. And when on June 5th I read the headlines that David was killed in Afghanistan, it couldn’t have happened, I thought..He was just telling me of the new house he bought..

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“Whenever you come to D.C., my home is your home,” he wrote.

And I can still see him standing all the way in the back during my personal presentation at Allegheny College where we both where guest speakers thanks to Cheryl Hatch who organized the conference. After presenting, just like when he presented, we high-fived and hugged. As if we’ve been friends forever. But this is who David was. Wherever he went, he left a trace in someone’s life. And he left one in mine too..

After my presentation, we sat in silence for hours. Not because we had nothing to talk about, we’d say few things, but mainly we’d just let the silence speak. And in that silence I heard his soul, his genuine and kind spirit, his strong character, the appreciation for life, the hardships and dangers of it..Surviving the Bosnian war many years ago, I knew of deep feelings only born in such circumstances..so we continued sitting, and someone passed by and jokingly said: ”You two are still talking.” At the moment, David’s quietness reminded me of my older brother with whom I seldomly speak, but understand so well..And that’s really how we became friends!

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So we ate cookies, then got up to make it seem we were serenading Cheryl. “I haven’t seen him smile this much in a really long time,” she said.

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Then the harsh reality visited. And nothing is as scary as when the unexpected death knocks on your door..

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So I join the feelings of many: David loved what he did, believed in it, made a change, and touched so many lives. But that other side where David had plans, family and close friends..is telling me it was too soon for you my friend to be gone…And I know your dear parents know this, but in a short time I’ve known you, you were one amazing human being.

Perhaps David, you hear all of us silently aching for you..

Or laughing at your humor, the little moments you gave us, like when you sang us that cheeseburger, taco bell or however that song went! And perhaps without saying anything at all, you know how we feel..

My friend, thank you for all you’ve done, and all the good that you wanted to do. ❤

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