When an elected official says the whole community mourns over a tragedy like the crash of the Ukrainian airliner near Tehran that took so many Edmonton lives, those are not just standard lines from a public relations writer.
Many people in Edmonton and other Canadian cities are truly touched by the sudden loss of life and the hearts that are broken.
Those who actually knew them gathered at the Alberta Legislature on Wednesday night to grieve together.
You may not have known any of the victims or their families in this case personally, but did your mind not go back to a similar situation in your own life and how that could have been you or your loved ones?
Do you know a beautiful young couple who went to another country to be married? Maybe a tropical setting. Maybe you went with them and enjoyed the wedding on the beach and the safe flight home.
What if something terrible had happened high in the sky?
If you have a student studying at the University of Alberta with a promising career ahead, did you not think how that could have been them?
The deaths of children can give us all pause. Did you not feel a tug at your heart seeing toys among the wreckage of that plane?
We never know when our turn on earth will be over.
Have you hugged your family today?
Bob Layton is the news manager of the Corus Edmonton group of radio stations.