Wednesday brought mourning to the Oregon Senate.
No bills were passed. No floor speeches were made. For much of the day, no inflammatory press releases were issued.
Family trumped politics. Family trumped partisanship. As family always should.
Sen. Brian and Peggy Boquist had lost their oldest child, Seth Sprague, 31, on Tuesday. None of the Senate’s business was more important than sharing the Boquists’ grief.
“Today, we are family and one of our brothers — one of our brothers — is really hurting,” said Senate President Peter Courtney of Salem as he addressed the chamber during a brief floor session.
“Brian told us this morning that Seth, like all service members, never fully recovered from the tragedy of war. He was another wartime casualty. He lived as a Spartan and died as a Spartan.”
It matters not that the Boquists, who live in the Dallas area, are Republicans and that Democrats, including Courtney, control the Senate. People, including ones who place an R or D after their name, have far more in common than whatever divides them. Each legislator is someone’s child. Many have children of their own. And the thought of losing one’s child seems almost incomprehensible.
Our hearts and prayers go out to the Boquist family, and to all the other families who have lost children.
We are Oregonians. We are children and parents, brother and sisters, aunts and uncles, spouses and guardians. We care for one another.
We are all part of this comforting, challenging and mystifying world.