Saturday, June 23, 2012

Rest in Peace, Ranger Hall

Flags flown at National Park Service sites have been at half-staff for the past two days out of respect for Park Ranger Nick Hall who died during a rescue at Mount Rainier on Friday. I notice when visitors ask, "why is the flag at half-staff," they generally expect to know the person, at least by name, and often act awkward when they learn that it was a park ranger that they've never heard of before. Should they express apologies? Should they extend condolences? Did I know him? They know it is sad, but how are they supposed to respond? Part of my role as interpreter is providing an "out" for that moment, providing a form of comfort to complete strangers. 

Nick Hall died doing something he enjoyed. No, I didn't know him. But I know what it means to wear the green and grey, to protect the iconic, to preserve wonders, to live out your passion while sharing it with others. I don't believe Ranger Hall was doing anything less than that.

My heart goes out to his family, those who knew him well, and to those at Mount Rainier who already suffered loss earlier this year. 


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