Today is Daniel Pearl's 55th birthday.
Every year when today rolls around, I think a lot about my friend...birthdays we celebrated, gigs we played, camping trips we took. Those days were filled with fun, adventure, hard work, and laughs....lots and lots of laughs. There are many things I loved about Danny - his quirky sense of humor, his perfect pitch, his undying loyalty to friends, the way there was always room for at least one more at the table, his love of life and thirst for the truth. I loved how he embraced the simple things.
One sunny Sunday many moons ago in Atlanta, Danny invited Carrie (my girlfriend at the time, now my wife) and me over for brunch. Danny's mom had just sent him a brand new bread machine. At this point in his life, Danny was the consummate bachelor living on his own. The bread machine was the perfect accompaniment to the only other appliance he owned, a juicer. It may come as no surprise that brunch that day consisted of - you guessed it - fresh baked bread and fresh squeezed orange juice...and that's it. But to Danny, sitting in his kitchen with good friends that sunny, Sunday morning, this was no less awesome than Sunday brunch at Murphy's, one of his favorite neighborhood bistros. And he was right. It was the best bread, the best orange juice, the best brunch I've ever had.
I've often wondered if Danny were alive if he would still see beauty, wonder, and humor in the simple things, if he could still find the silver lining in today's complicated world. Somehow I think he would because that's just who he was.
As the Octobers pass by, I wonder too, is the world forgetting who Daniel Pearl is? Do young people know his name, his story, and what he stood for? Has the unconscionable immorality of what happened to him started to fade? Have we lost our ability, desire, willingness to see the common humanity in one another? I confess these are the things that keep me up at night.
But each year today, October 10th, I reaffirm my commitment to face those questions head on. To fight to my very last breath to eradicate the hate and violence that took my friend's life. To make sure the world never forgets Danny Pearl. It's not always easy and I'd be lying if I didn't admit there are days I want to give up. But I won't. I promise you that!
I am beyond proud of the work of Music In Common these past thirteen years, work that could only have been accomplished with the unwavering commitment of an amazing team who see their involvement more as a calling than a job, board seat, or volunteer gig. When the hill feels too steep, the battle too fierce, and the world too complex we find strength and inspiration in the life of Daniel Pearl to embrace the simple things and keep on keeping on.
Happy 55th birthday, Danny Pearl. I miss you like mad.
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