United Nations

While reading the CNN.com account of the loss of an Air France jet over the Atlantic yesterday, I was struck by the following paragraph:

"The airline company identified the nationalities of the victims as two Americans, an Argentinean, an Austrian, a Belgian, 58 Brazilians, five British, a Canadian, nine Chinese, a Croatian, a Dane, a Dutch, an Estonian, a Filipino, 61 French, a Gambian, 26 Germans, four Hungarians, three Irish, one Icelandic, nine Italians, five Lebanese, two Moroccans, three Norwegians, two Polish, one Romanian, one Russian, three Slovakian, two Spanish, one Swedish, six Swiss and one Turk."

The lives of 228 people from 32 countries converged yesterday when they all boarded the same plane for a routine overnight flight.

When that plane disappeared, families in 32 countries around the world -- countries we traditionally separate with the usual classifications of ethnicity, geography, language, culture -- all shared the same unfathomable loss.

It was a truly international incident. And it was a singularly human one. One that powerfully affirmed once again that in the ways that matter to the human spirit, we are all the same.