Barack Obama was visiting a primary school and he visited one of the classes.
They were in the middle of a discussion related to words and their meanings. The teacher asked the president if he would like to lead the discussion on the word tragedy.
‘ So our illustrious president asked the class for an example of a ‘tragedy.’
One little boy stood up and offered: ‘If my best friend, who lives on a farm, is playing in the field and a tractor runs over him and kills him that would be a tragedy..’
‘No,’ said Obama, ‘that would be an accident.’
A little girl raised her hand: ‘If a school bus carrying 50 children drove over a cliff, killing everyone inside, that would be a tragedy.
I’m afraid not,’ explained Obama. ‘That’s what we would call great loss.’
The room went silent. No other children volunteered. Obama searched the room. ‘Isn’t there someone here who can give me an example of a tragedy?’
Finally at the back of the room, Little Johnny raised his hand. In a quiet voice he said: ‘If the plane carrying you and Mrs. Obama was struck by a ‘friendly fire’ missile and blown to smithereens that would be a tragedy.’
‘Fantastic!’ exclaimed Obama. ‘That’s right. And can you tell me why that would be a tragedy?’
‘Well,’ says the boy, ‘It has to be a tragedy, because it certainly wouldn’t be a great loss…and it probably wouldn’t be an accident either.’