Mondo has called it "The saddest picture of the year".
This is Javier, among 4,000 other students at the Johnson and Wales Harborside campus, forcibly ejected from spring semester, their freshman year now put on hold indefinitely.
He's taking it in stride, I guess, but I'm not a pleased parent here. Javi lived in this room for seven months - made connections, made friends, learned new things. All of that screeching to a sudden halt because of this global insanity.
It is time to muse - every generation has that "one thing". Many of us on this blog share that cold January morn 34 years ago. I don't have to think too hard - I was at school myself, my Sophomore year at ol' Bunker Hill Community College. (Yes, it took me four years to graduate from a two-year school.) I didn't hear about it until the afternoon. Puttering around a record store in Porter Square, Cambridge before work. I can still hear WBZ...."and the Coast Guard is looking for improbably survivors. If you've just joined us..." The memory still pains me.
Fast forward to 2001. Another glorious fall New England day. My manager at the time poked his head into my cubicle - "Did you hear a plane just crashed into the World Trade Center?" Boy, did we think the world changed then.
My mother had her moment, some years before I was born. Walter Cronkite spent a Friday afternoon before Thanksgiving 1963 crushing the souls of most Americans.
Before that - Papa TriSec has a 7-year-old boy's memory of this. "I didn't know what Pearl Harbor was, but it didn't sound good."
Javier is apparently considered a "post Milennial", or "Gen Z", whatever that means. He was born a month before that last great national PTSD; he has no actual memories of that fall of 2001.
Although his entire lifetime has been one of war, internet, and increasing disconnect among his fellow man, these children have not shared a common event, until now.
Working feverishly at the campus to pack up and get out, I was struck by one thing. Something that I can see in myself even now as I type this. Most of them were wandering around the campus in a sort of daze. None of them really knew what to do.
In short, they were all utterly defeated by all of this.
I can only look back at all of our shared tribulations. We all got through it somehow. Older, wiser perhaps, but permanently changed by what we all saw and experienced.
Despite my best efforts as a parent, I can shield him no more, and Javier joins us all in a national tragedy. I can only hope things go back to something resembling "normal" and his young life can get back on-track.