Memorial Service May 28, 1976

flagpoleAt First, the Remorse is Sweet & Justified ...

ln the week Following the bus  crash, so much happened. Our  house was  full of food donations from  even people we didn't know. ln our fridge, in our neighbors‘  fridges on both sides ot us, and  finally we left the front door open so  we wouldn‘t have to answer it.  Folks  could just walk  in and make  themselves at home. And Friends  did... to our amazement every day.

We buried my brother and our  friends... and that still wasn’t enough...

Yuba City wanted more. On  Wednesday, they contacted me about speaking at a memorial service  they were planning on Friday the  28th. lncredulous but confused, l  agreed to speak when they asked  that l do so. l  had no idea what this  would mean... or what it would lead to.   (Tom Randolph)

Memorial Service May 28, 1976


(For) Behold... it is only I who makes all things new.

~ The Christ (attributed to)
from a renowned vision of St, John the Divine
The Holy Bible, Book of Revelation, Chapter 21, Verse 5

Click on cross to view larger image »

The tragic event of one week ago sent from this city a  shock wave of grief felt worldwide. This entire community,  the state, and the nation unselfishly rallied to our aid.  It  established in all of us a new awareness of our sense of love  and concern for our youth, our families and our neighbors.  This shall not be forgotten.

Our students and teacher are a great loss, for they provided  to our school and community. the beautiful sounds that filled  our hallways, our stage, and our fields. Their model,  however, remains. Their pursuit of excellence remains. Their  spark of laughter remains. And their love for beauty remains.  Thank God that we had them, for they gave us so much.  Thank God that they left so much for their peers to follow.  And thank God that some of them are here with us today.

George Zerkoyich , Principal  
Yuba City High School

George Zerkoyich

Principal George Zerkovich read the names of our  lost Friends and Family members... and the sound  hammered in our ears and echoed like thunder. Were  these people that we really knew? Were they really  gone forever, our twin brother’?

I lookod at all the people around me mourning, the  symbols of condolence and I knew it had to be true...  even though it just didn't  feel that way. My twin  brother‘s funeral had been on Wednesday, and still it  didn‘t feel true. l had to accept that my twin brother‘s  head had been so damaged the funeral home could not make him look normal.

I had said that he never looked normal anyway... I  was only trying to lighten the moment. But l made my  parents laugh and cry at the same time. I wrote that  one down on my palm...that‘s a keeper, definitely.

Click on the thumbnails below to view larger images:

visitors crowd Tom Randolph senior mourner
Lady mourns students mourn students mourn choir 1976

Oh, my precious Lord, there were so mang people  who had come for solace and understanding, for  comfort and guidance...who would speak for the lambs?

As it turned out, the school district called me in the middle of the week after the bus crash and informed me  that a Memorial Service would be held on the 28th  and would I like to speak? I searched inside myself while  on the phone and saw that there was something coming  that needed to be said.... I just didn‘t know if people  were ready to hear it so soon after so many deaths.

On Wednesday the 26th, Lori Johnson came over at my request to help me put my thoughts into words.  As l spoke, she jotted them down like some faithful  secretary that l  had no right borrowing. The words  flowed out of me, they practically jumped, and l knew  that they were not mine but someone elses... someone  much greater than l could ever hope to be. Words of honor and comfort, words to assuage the deepest of  heartfelt sorrows. Yet, l  not Feel used or usurped.

Except for adding a sentence on her own about  God wanting and needing a part of our Choir, Lori  scribed word for word the teelings l let loose.

Feelings on everyone else’s behalf and not my  own.  (Oh, the ache of my twin being taken from me  without warning...)

Now tor the first time is the actual text we wrote  that day. Two words were removed before the  Memorial service on May 28, I976 because they  thought they might upset people...they were wrong.  The two words removed are the two most important  words that should have been spoken at the time which  would have helped everyone receive God more.. .but  that was not the point of the day.

So from me and Lori, here is not only what l wanted  to say but also what l ended up saying. May Heaven  unleash its Pity upon us and renew us from such a  sacred  and sincere angel-burst leaguer.

 "We as survivors find it very difficult: to express our  thanks. Students, friends, relatives and clergymen  have been very comforting, but our words cannot  express our deep feeling ot gratitude. The kindness  and understanding that have been shown to us and the sharing of our grief  have all helped lessent the sorrow of our great loss. No one can explain why it happened,  but it  did and we must accept it... (omitted - as Justice).

Nothing we can do will ever bring them back but  the memories that we have we should cherish and keep  in our hearts tor they are the foremost in God‘s love.

\/\/e do not say that crying is wrong. \/\/e only say  that we know that they do not wish us to fall into  self-pity and to stop our lives. Because this is not an  end but a beginning and we must pick up the old pieces  and start a new path. We must stand back up on our  feet and tread our new road. The time forgrief has passed and the beginning of new life of love and more  losses has begun. Although much has happened in a  week, it is but a grain in the sands of time.

(Lori's words)  All we can say is that our choir is the best choir in the whole world hecause God wanted  and needed part of our choir.

We would like to read two small pieces oh literature  in dedication to all those who have suffered and  especially to our beloved choir director Dean  listalorook."

 ~ Thomas Randolph  & Lori Johnson  
"A Tribute to Our l:riends" , May 26, 1976

Then a woman said, Speak to us of Joy and  Sorrow.  
And he answered:  
Your joy  is our sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter  rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.  
And how else can it he?  
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the  more joy you can contain.  
ls not the cup that holds your wine the very cup  that was burned in the potter‘s oven?  
And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the  very wood that was hollowed with knives?  
When you are joyous, look deep into your heart  and you shall find it is only that which has given you  sorrow that is giving you joy.  

When you are sorrowful look again in your heart,  and you  see that in truth you are weeping for that  which has heen your delight.  
Some of you say, "Joy is greater than sorrow,"  and others say, "Nay, sorrow is the greater."  l
But l say unto you, they are inseparable.  
Together they come, and when one sits alone with  you at your board, rememher that the other is asleep upon your bed.  

Verily you are suspended like scales at standstill  and balanced. When the treasure-keeper litts you to weigh his  gold and his silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow  rise or fall.

Then Almitra spoke, saying, We would ask now of  Death.  

And he said:  
You would know the secret of death.  
But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the  heart of life?  

The owl whose night-bound eyes are blind unto  the day cannot unveil the mystery of light.  

If you would indeed behold the spirit oh death,  
open your heart wide unto the body of life.  
For life and death are one, even as the river and the  sea are one.  
In the depth of your hopes and desires lies your  silent knowledge of the beyond;  

And like seeds dreaming beneath the snow your  heart dreams of spring.  
Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to  eternity.  

Your Fear of death is but the tremhling of the  shepherd when he stands before the king whose hand  is to he laid upon him in honour.  
ls the shepherd not joyhul beneath his trembling,  that he shall wear the mark of the king?  

Yet is he not more mindiul of his trembling?

 For what is to die but to stand naked in the wind  and to melt into the sun?  

And what is it to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and  expand and seek God unencumhered?  

Only when you drink from the river ol: silence shall  you indeed sing.  

And when you have reached the mountain top,  then you shall begin to climb.  

And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall  you truly dance.
~  Khalil Gibran
  The Prophet 1923

wreathDear Students,  
Like many many other Americans, we share your grief over the tragic  loss of your classmates. Those of us who did not know them personally  understand how dearly these young people will be missed by their  families, friends and their community. Please know that our thoughts  of love and concern are with all of you at this time.  
The President of  the United States and Mrs. Ford.

 "And the blade cut his hand
and it's stiff from the scar
and the butchers, called doctors, 
leave you worse than you are
and we‘re all like the butchers
we cut into life 
and we like to see blood  on the end of our knife  ."
~ Don Nlcclean  
"Believers" 1981

Your bared, relentless shame is the
only condolence which consoles me.
 You are "naked in the wind“;  
l have "melted into the sun." 
~Tom Randolph
November 10, 2010