It's all finally over. When I came home tonight on Hwy 231, there was nothing there as I passed the site where little Ethan was held hostage in an underground bunker for 6 days. (For anyone reading that didn't know, the Midland City/Pinckard area where all this occurred is on my daily commute to and from work. It was a very sobering start and end to every day that I passed by. However, it was obviously much worse for the 5-year-old.)
There are still red, blue and black ribbons on Midland City Elementary, with their sign saying "Mr. Poland is our hero." And yard signs at every corner welcoming Ethan home and wishing him a happy birthday. But otherwise everything was all back to normal on the ride home.
Let's hope that Ethan can return to normal. That the other children on the bus can return to normal. That the family of the bus driver, and yes, even any family of Mr. Dykes can get back to normal. That the local/state/federal law enforcement officers who were there every day to get back to normal. (I have personally worked with many of the local officials who have been excellent volunteers for the Wiregrass United Way, and let me just say that their "normal" is always exceptional. They are truly wonderful people and I'm proud to know them.)
And let's not let normal lull us into forgetting to thank God everyday, to praise God everyday, and to ask him to watch over us all every day. To forgive us everyday.
Because we all need it.