wrote a post about the Sanes family of Hazleton who suffered the unthinkable loss of two young sons, 7-year-old Omar and 3-year-old Elijah Sanes, in a fire back in 2007.
The drive-by media, as Rush calls them, locally and nationally portray Hazleton as a hate filled community that doesn't like Hispanics who now call Hazleton their home. The media panders that assertion in the hopes of affecting its ratings or selling more newspapers.
The following letter was written by the Sanes family in 2007 after their tragic loss. It demonstrates the bond that the Hazleton community has with its newfound neighbors. It also serves to manifest that Hazletonians don't deserve to be painted with the brush of hate. Maybe it is the media that is full of hate. Maybe it is the self serving interest of those who are too lazy to seek out the truth.
This tragedy and its ensuing heroic tale are brushed over by those filled with disdain for Lou Barletta and Hazleton City Council but Omar and Elijah deserve more than that. The story in their deaths rises above all the rhetoric surrounding the Hispanic settlement in Hazleton and serves to display the true human spirit found in the Hazleton community.
Dear Friends, Neighbors, and Community,
Through our tearful and clouded eyes we see you grieve with us our friends, our neighbors, our community. Our hearts filled with heaviness and pain thinking of Omar and Elijah's passing as our minds question the purpose of their deaths.
We ask our God to guide our thoughts yet softly ask him why. Our pain is joined by you our community. They looked into your eyes and called you Coach or Teacher; a chair will sit empty in a class today; a uniform will go unworn this year; but we know they'll still be there. Through your words of comfort we feel the calming hands of our community pressed against our buxom. Our Ortiz and Sanes Families thank each and every one of you for the kindness you have shared.
We look into the painful eyes of our Hereoic Fire Department seeing a reflection of our families' pain apparent in their tears. Together we understand each other's questions, doubts, and prayers.
We see the unselfish, heroci, composition of their character. Rushing boldly into the path of the roaring flames, willing to risk their lives to try and save our children. Their bodies feel the fury of the raging beast's flames as they rushed Omar and Elijah outside.
That Thursday morning each member of the Department willing responded, each Fire Fighter going above and beyond the expectation of any human being. We feel the love of their actions not only in the saving of three lives; the loving care of our children; but how they took the time to care for our fallen pets.
Our hearts bond with the EMTs, Paramedics, Nurses, Doctors, and other members of our Medical Community who valiantly tried to revive our children. Thank you to all the Healthcare Professionals working in the Burn Center who cared for and continue to care for our family. A special prayer we say to our Lord asking he bless and guide your caring hands as you care for their Father. We know our pain is shared by the members of the Police Department, FIre Marshall, and Coroner's Office, who so respectfully have treated us with love and caring dignity.
As we met at the home, looking at the charred remains, we marveled at the hear of our community. A rainbow of color adorned the house, your gifts of Teddy Bears, Spiderman, Footballs, statues, and other items brought comfort to our hearts. We inhaled the sweet perfume of the roses and read each message you left for God's new angels.
To Omar and Elijah young friends we softly, gently, lovingly hug each every one of you. Thank you for being their friends, joining in their laughter, and for keeping them in your hearts.
Gently holding hands we listened to their mother's words; joining hands we prayed; lovingly releasing ballons into their air. Our eyes transfixed upon their fading silhoutte against the stars we know our Angels will live for eternity.
We have not finalized plans for their final rest. Thank you friends, our neighbors, and our community.
With Love and respect, for the Sanes and Ortiz Families, Rafael Ortiz.
Shame on those who will not tell this story but instead will mock Hazleton by writing articles in Spanish. In their shortsidedness they think it will force a behavior. Instead it only serves to divide. As this letter illustrates one doesn't know what really goes on in another's home unless they live in it.
Instead of a great human interest story others would want to perpetuate the fevor of their perception. As the family asks about the purpose of their sons' death the community should honor that request by finally acknowledging the true relationships within Hazleton, and drown out the portrayals of dissention.