THE PLAQUE ON THE WALL
By: Jack Murray CLI,CFE,CCDI
Executive Director, International Council of Accident Investigators and Reconstructionists

It has been said that a sure sign you're getting old is when you attend more funerals than weddings. This is certainly true in my case, I can't remember the last wedding I attended, I think it was Cody Woods, from Thomas Publications! Over the past couple of years there have been a number of funerals. I don't mean to be morbid, but the reality factor is that I'm up in years as they say, I turned 72 in April of 2006.
 
As I was reading the obituary of a high school classmate of mine in Buffalo, New York, I began to seriously think about what might go into my obituary.
 
Over the years I have been very fortunate to have received several awards certificates and plaques from various organizations. Most of these hang on the wall in my office. Ralph Thomas calls this the "I love me wall."
 
While these mementos of days gone past bring back some fond memories for me, they really don't mean much to anybody else.
 
The degrees from the various Universities are meaningless to anyone else, my class mates will learn about my death from the various alumnae list serves. The same holds true for the organizations I belong to, I'm counting on Ralph Thomas for that chore. The awards matter not, when you pass on.
 
Listing the books and magazine articles I've authored won't mean a thing, you can't collect royalties of that kind where I'm going. Yes, I think I know where I'm going!
 
Listing my children is probably a nice formality, but I have daily contact with my kids and they will know when I leave. My parents have long since passed over and any relatives I have left are not here in Texas and they'll all be notified personally, so not much sense in that part. My church will be among the first group to know of my demise, and my fellow parishioners will not have to depend on a newspaper blurb to tell them.
 
My clients will hear about it at the court house and for them it's mostly a business relationship, that while it's been friendly and often very close, really just means they will have to find another investigator.
 
So what is it and how do I want to be remembered for?
 
Most important, I want to be remembered as anìethical person. Not just situational ethics, but on a regular day to day basis. To consistently fight the good fight, run the good race. If that sounds a little bit like Don Quixote, that's okay, I've fought my share of windmills in my time.
 
Of equal importance, I hope there will be a long list of those who considered me a friend, some one they could depend on and trust when things got tight. Those who I've fought side by side with, both in the arena of the court house and in the real wars of younger days.

I hope my children will serve as a living memorial to my efforts to instill basic Christian values in them for both their personal and professional lives.
 
If any and/or all of this comes to pass, I will have accomplished as much as any man could ask for, and that means more than any plaque on the wall.