One of things I remember as a little boy was my daily breakfast before a long day at school. I would get up with my brother, half asleep, and stumble into the bathroom to shower. I was the grouchy sibling who had no tolerance for early rising. I would get dressed and walk into the kitchen with my book bag and head for the counter. My mother would have a pot of coffee brewing with a white and red carton of milk nearby. I would grab the milk and pour it into a bowl of cereal, sitting at our circular wooden table. The first image to most of my mornings was the cover of missing children on the back of the milk cartons.
Every day had a different set of missing children. There would be faces of them with their dates of birth, cities of origin, where they were last seen, height, weight, and contact information surrounding their disappearance. I felt sad for those who couldn't have the chance to play with their cat like I did or how their parents couldn't make them chicken soup and cinnamon toast when they were sick like mine did or how they wouldn't be able to attend birthday parties and get gifts and cake. I recall the word, MISSING, in bold, black letters and how permanent it seemed that most would never be found. There was one image of a little boy who I recall quite well. His name was Etan Patz, a six year old kid from Manhattan. Every year, his face was on the back of that carton. It haunted me. His smile with his front teeth showing and how small his little frame was.
I can't keep Etan Patz out of my head. Every time I see his precious face online or on a newspaper as of late, I feel a ripple in my stomach, imagining how he met his fate against the hands of an malevolent, psychopathic monster, how helpless he was, and what it must have been like for his family to lose someone so close and dear to their hearts in such in indescribable way. I am solely certain that the worst crime any human can commit is that against of a child.
Its hard to imagine that just a few blocks away in SoHo, this little boy vanished thirty-three years ago yesterday. And, how his murderer finally came forward on the same day of his death. I want to take this time to reflect on his passing and the other children in the world who were taken and never returned. While I am not a parent, I am an Uncle. I see the beauty and innocence of all children, especially, my nephews--how beautiful and pure they both are and how protective I feel towards them.
I want to extend my thoughts and heart to the Patz family and how his passing impacted my life.