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Last year's Mumbai terrorist attacks are one of those stories I’ll never forget. I was working on Thanksgiving, reaching out to iReporters waiting to hear from their loved ones.
The story of Kia Scherr, waiting to hear about her husband and daughter, tugged at my heartstrings. The pair was missing after the assault on the Oberoi Hotel in Mumbai, India.
The next morning, I sleepily flicked on CNN and turned pale. Naomi Scherr, 13, and her father, Alan Scherr, 58, were the first two Americans confirmed dead in the attacks.
It’s been a year since the family’s tragic loss, and now I’m checking in with Scherr and her son, Aaron Butler, who told their story on iReport.com.
Butler said he posted the iReport out of “sheer desperation.” He had uploaded Naomi and Alan’s pictures on missing persons sites and was hoping someone would know what happened.
Right away, the iReport community began sending its wishes to the family. “It was that sense of community. I never really felt that before, that outpouring of compassion from complete strangers,” he said.
Even as the family heard the bad news, the comfort they received from iReporters all over the world helped them find solace, Scherr said.
“People’s natural response was to send their love, support and prayers,” she said. “They all sent their love and really heartfelt messages of condolence. I was so moved by all of this.”
Scherr had lived a reclusive life of meditation in at a sanctuary in Synchronicity, Virginia. But the response opened her to the outside world, she said.
The loving messages from iReport inspired her to co-found One Life Alliance , along with Master Charles Cannon, the spiritual leader of the Synchronicity Foundation. The goal of the nonprofit is to honor the sacredness and oneness of life, she said.
A collaborative art project honoring Naomi came about via One Life Alliance.
Linda Ragsdale, a children’s book illustrator, was with Naomi and Alan during the hotel attack. She had promised Naomi she’d teach her how to draw a dragon the night before.
In Naomi’s honor, Ragsdale and others created the Peace Dragon Project, a Web site showcasing artwork of peace dragons from child artists worldwide. Its idea is to teach children that there are other choices beyond the violence that marked the Mumbai attacks. “You can be powerful and peaceful at the same time,” Scherr said of the peace dragons.
Striving toward a world of peace and love keeps Scherr going each day, but it doesn’t replace the hole in her heart.
“I’m not denying the grief and the loss that is a daily thing, but I am excited by the possibility of spreading a positive message,” Scherr said.
'Peace Dragon Project' sounds like such a good project. hard to believe its been a year. How sad the news was.
Amazing how something good can come out of something awful. The world needs this message and this hope. Thank you.
people are so generocity how can such happen.
we need to be humble and kind when acting on,
hope it will not occur again.takecare
Why not be honest and just admit CNN has abandoned what little standards it once had for quality news coverage?
MarkLincoln...........you know what the only people that are not nice and trust worthy around here is you.