So instead, I'm going to tell you about September 10th, 2001.
My brother was really good friends with one of our uncles. (I liked him, too, but I wasn't invited to poker night, so didn't have quite the interaction with Jim that Billy did.) (This is not the same uncle that liked "The Curly Shuffle".) That summer, I had gone to Indiana and spent some time with my aunt & uncle, along with most of the rest of the family. Billy mentioned to me that Uncle Jim had asked him about God a few times, but I don't know where the conversations went from there. Apparently Uncle Jim respected my brother's then-intended career choice of being a minister. Jim also, in the course of that summer, asked my brother to conduct his funeral, and Billy, thinking that would be a long time in the future, agreed.
A couple of weeks after I went back to Lubbock, I spoke to my aunt on the phone: Uncle Jim had been diagnosed with terminal cancer and had weeks, maybe, to live. No wonder he asked Billy so many questions; he was getting ready for the hereafter.
I missed the phone call, on the 8th or 9th of September, that Uncle Jim had passed, because I was out of town. And I was at a complete loss of what to do, because I desperately wanted to be there to support my aunt and cousins (and my brother, who was conducting his first--and, so far, only-- funeral), but had no money for an emergency trip to Indiana. My father assured me that my aunt knew I was there in spirit, but I felt like all kinds of an idiot when I picked out a card to send to my beloved auntie-- what do you write to someone you love that much, who has just lost the person she cared for more than anyone else in the world?
September 10th. I met with some friends to pray that morning, and we specifically talked to God about my aunt, and my cousins, and my brother. My dad told me later that one of Jim's friends also spoke at the service, and he said to my cousins, "The word 'hero' is thrown around a lot these days, but I want you kids to know: Your dad was a hero." Yes, he was; he was a WWII vet who served in the Philippines.
And the next day, even more heroes were called into action. Some are still here, and therefore I urge us all: Thank them while there is still time.