Fifteen years ago, the world lost 10 great people. My father, Will Hancock, was one of them. I was two months old at the time; I know him not through recollection but by the stories told by those who are keenly intent on keeping his memory alive. It may seem strange to say you miss someone you never knew, but because of other people’s accounts of my dad, I feel like I do know him: He was kind, warm, witty, bright and funny. He loved sports, music and his family. I would not feel the same connection I do to him if it weren’t for the Oklahoma State community and the people of Stillwater, who are so determined to keep his legacy going.
Every year around this time, we celebrate the Ten’s lives and their impact on the rest of us, but my family celebrates something else: the people who got us through the hardest thing we’ve ever faced. Support came from all around the state and the nation when we lost my dad. In the rough days following the crash, we couldn’t have gotten through the pain without the support of those we knew and strangers alike.
In my family’s darkest hour, the OSU community swooped in, promising us they’d be here for us in any way we needed. They promised us that my father and everyone else we lost would never be forgotten. Fifteen years later, the oath still stands: We Will Remember. For that, I can never say thank you enough.