Headline Oct 15, 2015/ ''' STUDENTS -BY ROSES OF GRIEF '''


WEEKS before he was supposed to fly to  Barcelona, Spain, for a  *student exchange program*   with his 10-grade Spanish class-

Student Steffen Strang realized he would miss a home game of the soccer team he followed religiously. Maybe, he told his mother, he should stay home.

Dagmar Strang's response to her 16 year-old son has echoed in her head since March 24, the day he sent her a final text message after boarding a Germanwings flight bound for Dusseldorf:
''We are sitting on the plane, I can't wait to see you.''

Student Henrik Dripple, 19, is not eligible for the Lufthansa payment for emotional damage because as the brother of a victim, he is not considered next of kin. Yet, he said, he has struggled with the realization that-

He will never again come home to find his sister, Student Lea, 16, at the piano, where she would compose ballads and record them on her smartphone. Desperate to hear his sister's voice one last time, he has questioned her friends...............

'Can I hear you? Can I see you? I'm alone. Are you missing me, too?'

'Part of me died on that plane,'' Student Drippel says. 'But it means that part of her is still here with me.' 

The Strangs are one of the families in this leafy town in western Germany, previously known for its sparkling lake and and web of bicycle paths-

Struggling to come to terms with the holes in their lives since a  Germanwings  co-pilot Andreas Lubitz, sent flight 9525  into a fatal descent, taking their sons, daughters, siblings and wives with him.

The  16 students  and two teachers from Halternam See  were the largest known organized group on the flight.

While some families of the  150   on board have broken Germany's culture of privacy and discrete suffering to speak to reporters, those in Haltern had stayed silent, closing ranks and their doors while coping with merciless grief. 

Mrs Strang quit her job as a sports teacher when Steffen was born, devoting her life to the child she and her husband feared they would never have. They remained close even as he grew from a contented, good natured child to a conscientious, outgoing teenager with an easy way around strangers.

Mrs Strang recalled that Steffen's spot in this exchange group was guaranteed because his teacher felt, he was a positive influence on his fellow students. 

''He was like that, always saying please and thank you, and still wanting to spend time with us, joining us for breakfast on the weekend,'' his mother said. The picture shows a tall, blond boy with sparkling eyes and an easy smile.

He was full of energy, his mother said but from an early age displayed a patience that made him excel as a fisherman. 
'He told me, *When I hit puberty, I promise not to be stupid,* Mrs Strang said. *He kept his promise*.

And he was thoughtful, the Strangs said: He would ask before using his mother's credit card to but tickets online for home games of his favourite soccer team, Schalke FC, sometimes seeing them snapped up before he could respond.

'I would tell him, *Just buy them!* but he would always ask me,* his mother said.

The Strangs are exhausted by thoughts of how their son spent his final 10  and a half minutes, from when Mr. Lubitz, the co-pilot programmed the Airbus jet to descent to an altitude of 100 feet until it crashed into the mountains.

The families have begun receiving personal items of their loved ones found at the crash site, those deemed no longer relevant to the investigation: a passport, a wallet, a handful of coins.............

But no mobile phones have been returned, disappointing family members hoping for clues to the final moments of their relatives alive. Lufthansa said recovered phones were being kept as evidence in the French criminal investigation.

Everyone places their trust in the airline, pilot and crew when they board a plane, said Oliver, 41, whose wife, Sonja, was known by students for being as fair as she was demanding

And then Teacher Sonja hated to fly. Her mother had died of breast cancer at 38, and Sonja was haunted by a sense of life's brevity. She wanted to see as much of the world as she could.

Sonja sat on the flight beside a student, who adored her. *I think in the end she wasn't alone*.

With respectful and loving dedication to the memory of all the students, teachers, and passengers who lost their lives in the crash. And with very caring dedication to all the parents, relatives, and kin left bereaving.

See Ya all on !WOW!  -the World Students Society Computers-Internet-Wireless:

''' The World '''   

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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