From: DennisLeeWilson-Ariz-Wyo (Original Message) Sent: 7/4/2001 12:16 PM
Eulogy for Justin Logan Wilson by his father. 1993-April-16
My eulogy for Justin is primarily contained in the photos that I as an amateur photographer have taken over the years - a small portion of which you can see here today.
But there are some things that can never be photographed.
Justin, I will always remember what I consider the first major turning point in your development--at age 3, never having encountered fireworks, you stayed huddled in the car, hiding your eyes and ears from the confusion and noise of our country's BiCentennial Celebration. Knowing--with full clearity--that such an experience could set a pattern of behaviour for an entire lifetime, I held you protectively against my chest and with quiet whispered words of explanation, I proudly remember your fear and trembling changing to fearless wonderment and awe.
My efforts that night were to be rewarded many times over during the years that followed.
You were intellectually armed for the night when at 14, you and Joel Benton tested what I was made of, along the Gila River. When you walked out the next morning and found the forming search parties, your incredible response to me was "We weren't lost. We're here, aren't we?"
I was proudly rewarded again when at 16 you voluntarily accepted the Scout challenge at Geronimo and spent an entire night alone in Zane Grey's Mogollon Rim country, searching for the Treasure Box of the Solo Hiker.
You visitors may have noticed that most of the photos I have displayed were taken during Boy Scout activities. Justin introduced me to Scouting.
I had been a Cub Scout when I was young, but Justin had an enthusiasm that went far beyond what I had at his age. He had completed the first three phases of Cub Scouts before I realized that he was so enthusiastic.
At that point, I adopted a concept ... and still hold it, as a motto for myself. The concept is: "Don't send your son to Scouts--take him!"
Together, we have hiked from the bottom of the Grand Canyon to the top of the Continental Divide. I will let the photos attest to the enjoyment we had along the way.
I am forever indebted to Scoutmaster Jim Wilcox and his wife Mary for actually making that motto have meaning in the real world. Without them, none of it would have happened. These pictures, my own "Pictures at an Exhibition", are also my tribute to them.
You will have noticed that many of the photos contain Justin's younger brother, Jason.
I never had a brother. In the 53 years that I have lived, I have had to contend at times, with the emptiness left by the death of those I love...but never have I personally encountered what I now face, not only the lost of a son, but the unimaginable plight of Jason, my other son, who at 17 has lost his big brother.
The first death that I remember was that of a very good friend when I was 20.
At that time, and all the times since, I have consoled myself by re-reading a short passage from my favorite novel. It helps me to refresh my understanding of the concept of the HUMAN SOUL. It has continued to serve me on this occasion and I offer it to you, Jason, and to all who might need it.
In the context of the story, the main character, a woman, is in a powerful diesel locomotive - speeding at 100 mph on its maiden journey along a track which she succeeded in building in spite of both real and bureaucratic obstacles.
"A wall of rock shot upward in their path, filling the windshield, darkening the cab, so close that it seemed as if the remnant of time could not let them escape it. But she heard the screech of wheels on curve, the light came bursting back -- and she saw an open stretch of rail on a narrow shelf. The shelf ended in space. The nose of the engine was aimed straight at the sky. There was nothing to stop them but two strips of green-blue metal strung in a curve along the shelf.
"To take the pounding violence of sixteen motors, she thought, the thrust of seven thousand tons of steel and freight, to withstand it, grip it and swing it around a curve, was the impossible feat performed by two strips of metal no wider than her arm. What made it possible? What power had given to an unseen arrangement of molecules the power on which their lives depended and the lives of all the men who waited for the eighty boxcars? She saw a man's face and hands in the glow of a laboratory oven, over the white liquid of a sample of metal.
"She felt the sweep of an emotion which she could not contain, as of something bursting upward. She turned to the door of the motor units, she threw it open to a screaming jet of sound and escaped into the pounding of the engine's heart.
"She moved slowly along the length of the motor units, down a narrow passage between the engines and the wall.
"Why had she always felt that joyous sense of confidence when looking at machines?--she thought. In these giant shapes, two aspects pertaining to the inhuman were radiantly absent: the causeless and the purposeless. Every part of the motors was an embodied answer to "Why?" and "What for?" --like the steps of a life-course chosen by the sort of mind she worshipped. The motors were a moral code cast in steel.
"They are alive, she thought, because they are the physical shape of the action of a living power--of the mind that had been able to grasp the whole of this complexity, to set its purpose, to give it form. For an instant, it seemed to her that the motors were transparent and she was seeing the net... of connections, more intricate, more crucial than all of their wires and circuits: the rational connections made by that human mind which had fashioned any one part of them for the first time.
"They are alive, she thought, but their soul operates them by remote control. Their soul is in every man who has the capacity to equal this achievement. Should the soul vanish from the earth, the motors would stop, because that is the power which keeps them going--... --the power of a living mind--the power of thought and choice and purpose."
Because of my very unique relationship with Justin, I will - for the rest of my entire life - sense his soul in all those things that from first hand experience, I know that he loved. I offer this to you, Jason. You also know him intimately and in ways that I never can.
As for friends of Justin, and those of you who never met him, I hope that your presence here, and the joyous, spiritual content in the photos I have provided will allow at least a small part of his wonderful soul to remain within you also.
Judi, we sure do have fine children and I thank you for being a caring mother.
Justin, I am your father. You may go, but your SOUL must remain here with us.