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Monday, September 11, 2006


Steve Irwin's family has released the news that there will be a Public Memorial Service sometime next week, at the largest venue in Brisbane.

Meanwhile, here is a remembrance tribute penned by my
friend V, from California...

Steve Irwin, we're going to miss ya!

The Crocodile Hunter sort of crept into our lives. That is if you can say that Steve Irwin did anything unobtrusively. While flipping through channels, my husband John would sometimes land on his entertaining and highly unusual show. I would usually be wandering around doing different household chores, and I could hear this exuberant man singing the praises of whatever animal, reptile, fish, he was confronting at the time.

Gradually "Steveisms" crept into our vocabulary "there's a beauty, Crikey," and needing to be said with the definite Australian inflection "Danger, Danger Danger!"

His ability to confront any creature, keep up a constant patter of information while doing so and his boundless enthusiasm really did set him apart. As the shows evolved and Terri, his wife, became more and more a part, all the better. She was beautiful, she was the perfect foil and it obvious she was devoted to animals and her husband. Together they made the perfect combo.

So I went from just casually watching to really watching with intention. The fact that Steve "dodged the bullet" so many times and survived every type of animal attack, probably minimized the danger he was facing in the minds of his viewers. I like many viewers began to feel that he was invulnerable. The guy had crocs chasing him, venomous snakes whizzing by his head and grumpy animals of all types take their best shot without success.We all know what happened this last week. A very freak hit from a sting ray, was the last animal encounter (or should I say fish) Steve will ever be experiencing. Suddenly and without warning the man that had faced down every type of creature was gone.

As I sat at the computer late Sunday night checking latest news, suddenly it flashed across my screen, "Steve Irwin, Croc Hunter is killed". Steve, killed I thought, that can't be right, surely there?s been a mistake. But as the news filtered in, there was no mistake. Doing something that most people would have given a far lower risk factor than many of the amazing things he had done in the past, Steve had died. This likeable, entertaining, winsome guy was dead.I found myself trying to find out details and as most people felt, was horrified at the idea that not only had he died, but died while they were filming.

This too seemed predictable, but to me, but that did not lesson the sadness I felt. I saw the pictures of the flowers piling up at the Australia Zoo, and read about the reactions in Australia and around the world.

Australians were going to honor him by wearing khaki on Friday. The Prime Minister of Australia offered a state funeral. Articles appeared on the web about the loss and depression kids felt who had grown up watching Steve?s shows. It seems that a guy in khaki, with a gift for communication and a love of animals had made a big impact around the globe. Realizing this made me feel better and worse. I was just like everyone else, and there was really nothing to be done feeling bad that this had happened to the Croc Hunter. He is gone.That's just it, he's gone. Oh they'll play his reruns ad infinitum and he will continually be eulogized, but no where in the world, is that crazy, amazing, enthusiastic guy chasing some wild beast and turning to the camera and saying "Crikey, this is amazing!"

Our world doesn't have very many Steve types. People who unabashedly follow their enthusiasms and make a huge difference in the lives of not just people, but animals, and do it in a way that doesn't seem heavy handed or repressive. Nope there just aren't those kinds of people around. Steve will not be running across our TV screens, and he will be missed. I would rather not draw any lessons about the manner of his death, or ponder whether it was unavoidable, it just was.

So I guess it's thanks to Steve, and to his family who shared him with the world. It was a great run Mate, we'll miss ya!

Thank you V, for this beautiful tribute, it will remain in our hearts for a long time.

Be encouraged!

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