Eleven-year-old Bernard Curtis Brown, II was like many boys his age. He liked playing basketball, even getting up early on Saturday mornings to practice. But unlike some boys his age, he loved to go to school. Because of his passion to learn, he was selected to attend a four-day National Geographic trip to California. Along with two other Washington, D.C. area students, he was looking forward to having an educational adventure at the Channel Islands Marine Sanctuary.
As the trip drew near, Bernard told his father, a Navy chief petty officer who worked at the Pentagon, that he was scared to fly. As dads do, he tried to reassure his son that he’d be all right. Ironically, as his father would later say, they talked about death during that conversation. He told his son not to be afraid, because everyone would die someday.
When Bernard and the…
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