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An interesting thing happened the days following the Virginia Tech shootings. All over the Facebook community groups were created to remember those who had been lost in the States latest gun tragedy. In these groups people would post pictures or memories of the victims. They labeled it a place to remember, mourn and begin the healing process.

Today another such group was created but under slightly more disturbing circumstances. Late last night in the small town of Fairmont, NY a horrific car accident claimed the lives of 5 recent high school graduates. The details on CNN were grisly. As you can imagine news of this magnitude shook the small town to its core.

Upon reading about this story I decided, I guess out of morbid curiosity, to see what information I could find out about these girls. Remembering how Facebook had played a role in the healing process of Virginia Tech, I thought I would look there. To my suprise there was already a group dedicated to one of the victims of the car accident. Her name was Hannah Congdon and by 2pm this afternoon, the group dedicated to her memory had already grown to over 150 members.

I browsed through the group. While reading about Hannah’s life I was surprised by how many people had already uploaded pictures or funny stories of the fallen cheerleader. What was more surprising was to see that the creator of the group was none other than Hannah’s older sister Elizabeth.

In less than 12 hours after her sister’s death, Elizabeth had decided her way to begin the mourning process was to open her Facebook account and create a group dedicated to her memory.

These actions are both surprising and intriguing. Is this a new way for the younger generation to remember those they have lost too soon? Some might say it is important to have a community where people can be together and remember some they obviously loved, but on a social network?

If I ever lost my sister, arguably my best friend, I would be hard pressed to even be able to function, let alone turn on my computer and go through the motions of creating a Facebook group.

I’m not judging the actions of Elizabeth because I know everyone grieves in different ways. I guess I may have underestimated the power and importance of Facebook. I guess it is for way more than just poking.

Mike Morrison

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