The Duncan Banner

September 8, 2013

Peter Lane’s letter to the people of Duncan

Peter Lane
The Duncan Banner

DUNCAN — EDITOR’S NOTE: Most of us will not likely meet Peter Lane, father of Christopher Lane, the collegiate baseball player from Australia and boyfriend of Duncan’s Sarah Harper, who was shot and killed while jogging in Duncan Aug. 16, 2013.  That’s a shame. He seems a decent and good man, an articulate and compassionate soul and a loving father dealing bravely with the loss of his son. Here are his moving words for the people of Duncan, delivered to the Duncan Rotary Club Sept. 4, 2013 by Mauro Kolobaric, Consul General of the Embassy of Australia in Washington. – Ed Darling

When I was asked to write something for the Rotary Club I knew I would struggle to find the right words in the context of the time and in the place that they needed to be spoken, and then one of my friends wrote something on Facebook that captured many of my thoughts and wishes and I will finish this letter with those words.

Before then, in my own words I would like to briefly tell you about Chris and where he was on his path in life:

From the Lane family perspective Chris was on an incredible journey – he was not chasing the MLB dream any more; he had given that his best shot and knew where he stood as an athlete. He was now chasing the life that the journey had offered — family, education and career.

Chris was brought up with three elder sisters who have displayed their own strength of character during the past fortnight – all our children were taught to be independent, but have regard for others; to be prepared to stand up for themselves and others, but to also have the ability to laugh at themselves and Chris certainly fit that profile.

Whatever else happened, family was at the core; for good or for bad, family was always there – and when Chris got to the USA he found a girl, Sarah, and then a family that embraced those values.  We all know that family can be embarrassing at times, but even when uncles, aunts and parents go out of their way to show kids up in front of their mates or girlfriends, we would not change them for the world and I know Chris would not have changed his Australian or U.S. Family for anything.

Chris was always told that education was a priority — participation in sport was not an excuse to forgo his education. He was taught from an early age that they go hand in hand. The importance of being a rounded individual was stressed to Chris and his interest in politics, history and just about anything else written down was testament to this. He was never a brilliant student, but he was a hard worker who had learned that education was the gateway to opportunity and he had grabbed the opportunity with both hands.

Career was Chris’s next stage in life. He had one more year at ECU and then he was off to the world of work — he and Sarah were talking about where that would be and would good naturedly argue with each other about whether Australia or the USA (more particularly Oklahoma and Duncan) were best, but it was an argument conducted with the certainty that wherever one was the other would be. This was meant to be the start of a career and then the next generation of family to continue the cycle that was started 23 years ago.

That cycle will now remain incomplete and this will be a regret for a long, long time. I don’t think Chris was necessarily going to achieve fame or do great things in the public sense. What I do know with absolute certainty that he was going to achieve great things as a partner, a parent, an uncle and as a person.

I know that the loss is also felt in Duncan and that there are few words I can offer to make that loss subside and this is where I am relying on the words of a friend.

Richard King wrote these words after the memorial day for Chris held at Essendon Baseball Club two Sundays ago and I quote:

“An open letter to the people of Duncan USA and the broader nation of America.

Today we paid tribute to one of our Essendon Baseball Club family, Christopher Lane. Chris was much loved and his short lifetime of just 22 years belied the impact he had on so many people here and in the U.S.

Today, at our humble little baseball field, the national anthems of USA and Australia played back to back. The flags of both countries were held by our EBC youngsters with pride. A great deal of love was extended to the Lane family and to Chris’ girlfriend, Sarah Harper (a remarkable young lady) and the Harper family. We were as one.

EBC’s talented youngsters will continue to strive to attain the very best they can achieve in our wonderful sport. EBC will continue to support and nurture their talents and encourage their journeys. The circumstances leading to Chris’ passing have not and will not subdue the ambitions of our fine young people. We are as one.

We have nothing but respect for the people of Duncan, ECU, Redlands College and U.S. baseball in general and we thank you sincerely for the opportunities you provide, for the outpouring of emotion you have shown for Chris and the support you have shown for the Lane family and for Sarah and her family.

We are as one. EBC love to you all.”

The people of Duncan need to understand that we know they are a fine community that holds dear the values that Chris was taught to embrace – family, education and career and in these tough times I would ask that they continue to embrace those values as the cornerstones of their community.

I would also acknowledge that there are many people that the Lane family would like to thank and we will do that personally over the next few weeks as we return ourselves to the day to day lives that Chris would want us to get on with.