On Nov. 22, 2012, I was “smiling” because it was Thanksgiving morning. I assume most families across the nation were doing the same thing. You see, we long for our holidays to help us forget the terrible tragedies that happen during the year. They help us create a sense of peace, if only for one day and night.
I felt thankful as I watched my family prepare our dinner. Mamacita was here from Guadalajara, Mexico, and my wife, Carolina, and my son, Jordan, could not have been happier. I have the most loving mother-in-law, and she cooks nonstop!
Jordan was 17 years old and a student at Wolfson High School. He called all his friends that day to wish them a happy holiday, and he, too, was “smiling.”
For the first time at Thanksgiving dinner, I asked him to lead the prayer, and he willingly accepted. Usually teenagers beg out of such duties, so I was a little shocked. I wasn’t prepared for a thoughtful prayer that included love for all his family. He then started to pour his heart out to the Lord, and I turned my head slightly to hide the tears that filled my eyes. I was so proud of my son. As I write this, those memories come flooding back.
And I am again thankful.
Nov. 23, 2012: I will never forget “Black Friday.”
Jordan and his friends were meeting at the St. Johns Town Center to go window-shopping. I gave him some cash, and we hugged. I told him to have a great time with his friends, and he said that he would see me later that evening at home.
My son never made it home, and I am left to pick up the pieces of my broken heart. For giving me and his mother, Lucia McBath, the strength to continue on and fight for Jordan and his legacy … I’m thankful. Oh Lord, we are truly thankful.
More than 200,000 well-wishers have sent prayers on Facebook. Our communities and city government have supported our efforts.
I am thankful for the everyday hardworking people who have taken the time from their busy days to say a prayer for Jordan and our family. We know that many of those are facing hardships, too, and I get on my knees for you. Thank you, Jacksonville, for “turning up the music” for Jordan. Thank you for Jordan Davis Day at The Jacksonville Landing and showing up for so many events.
Tawney Harden and J-City gave us a tribute song, and thank you to John, Steve, Chryl, Maria, Jamaal and a host of others.
From the very bottom of my heart, Jacksonville, I thank you.