17 June 2007


On this Father's Day, I wanted to re-post a special posting I did last September. It is still fresh with me and I wanted to share it again.

DOUGLAS MARTIN was a husband and a father of six daughters.

I knew Mr. Martin very indirectly - I may have actually spoken to him 2 or 3 times and I'd probably waved 'hello' to him the same number of times.

On September 14th 2006, he and three of his daughters were swimming near the 78th street pier in Ocean City. With hurricane Florence blowing strong in the Atlantic about the same time, the northeastern US seaboard had been plagued with strong, dangerous riptides. Mr. Martin and his girls got caught up in such a riptide. They were separated from each other and he swam to shore to make sure everyone was okay. When he got there, only his 17 year old daughter had made it back safely. Mr. Martin turned back to the sea and did what father's do - he went back for his children.

It turns out that his 13 year old daughter had been lucky and smart enough to let herself float on her back and get washed out to sea, where she was rescued by an off-duty beach patrol officer. Mr. Martin and his 15 year old, Amy, were found a short time later by the Coast Guard and taken to Atlantic General Hospital where he was pronouced dead on arrival and where she died an hour later.

Over the last few days I have thought about these events for hours and hours. Their deaths reinforce the fact that we have to give love to those around us every chance we get. What was an innocent moment of family fun - a quick swim before dinner - turned to devastating tragedy in only a few minutes. What was a happy family of eight, was in the blink of an eye changed to a grieving family of six. I'm sure that morning Mr. & Mrs. Martin had no idea that that would be their last morning waking up together.

In my mind, I've tried to imagine what Mr. Martin was thinking when he realized that two of his children were in mortal danger. Swimming out to them with water splashing around him, rip currents pulling like strong arms at his whole body, yelling and screaming his girls names. I'm positive that he had no thoughts of his own impending death, I'm positive that he had no idea that the 46 years of life that he had were about to end in a few minutes. I'm positive that his only thoughts were of a life without two of his girls and this is a life that he was swimming frantically to prevent. If they weren't coming back, then HE wasn't coming back.

I know there are millions of fathers who would risk and give their lives without a second of thought to protect their children. But to have actually encountered a man that would be called upon to make that exact sacrifice is humbling. To me, it defines the man. To me, it is the example of what a MAN does, and it is the best example of what a FATHER does.

Rest in peace, Douglas and Amy.



DeathSweep said...

What a moving recount of a horrible day. I'm not a father but I can imagine my father doing something similar if not identical for his children. This is the first time I've read your blog and believe me you are now a daily read for me. See you tomorrow!

Ridwan said...

THBM ... thanks for making me pause and think brother.

Still reading you ... because of recounts like this post.

Be well my brother.


Mizrepresent said...

Very nice post indeed.

Angie said...

I absolutely love reading your posts. There great!

God bless you!

blog Portland said...

I've always known that I would lay down my life for that of my children in an instant; even thinking about it you can just feel it surge through your skin without an ounce of doubt. Still, stories like this can be such a profound, reinforcing example of the true worth of a man. Thanks for sharing.

Angie said...

TTBM: I failed to wish you a Happy Father's Day the other day. I'm sorry... So here goes...

Happy Father's Day!!!

Gunfighter said...

Heavy stuff the first time, TTBM, heavier still, the second.

The Thinking Black Man said...

Hello DEATHSWEEP, thanks for the comment and thanks for droppin' by my blog.

Hey RIDWAN. What's up brother? Thanks for the comment and thanks for still reading my stuff. I see you're still putting up some on the deepest thoughts on the net! Keep enlightening us!

Thanks MIZREPRESENT and ANGIE for those kind words. I'm honored that you all check out my posts. REALLY!

Hey there BLOG PORTLAND! That kind of sacrifice is so amazing, and so darn humbling. Thanks for reading my friend.

Thanks ANGIE My Fathers Day was great!

Hey GUNFIGHTER! Thanks for dropping a comment! Take care Brother!

DeathSweep said...

Checking daily and still waiting for your next post!

CreoleInDC said...

Thanks! Where ARE you?

No I am not pro-black said...

Hi again, great post but unfortunately I have no idea if my father would rescue me in that way. I have a hard time believing anyone in my family would to be honest ecxept one uncle :(

I have a seperate blog now for my "Blackness rants" as my other one is turning into a beauty blog,

Tickledpink x


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