The following is an editorial from FOX6 WBRC-TV General Manager Lou Kirchen, first aired on Thursday, June 5, 2014:
I was 9 years old and walked into the room to find my parents in tears. My 7-year-old cousin, Allen, and his father, Dan, had drowned in the Potomac River. His father, very much at home on the river, had taken Allen out in his fishing boat. The river's current was strong that day. Allen fell overboard and his father jumped in to save him. Both of them perished.
The loss of three children on Memorial Day brought back all of those memories. Our children are so precious to us and our hearts go out to their families.
One of the joys of summer is being in and around the water. And, we have so many beautiful lakes, rivers and beaches in our state. However, we should never forget to be respectful of the power that resides in a body of water and in water's ability to change the environment in, under and around it, creating hidden dangers ... swift currents, drop-offs and under tow ... even in our favorite swimming and fishing holes.
Please teach your children how to swim and to be safe around water when they are very young. Remind them of the safety rules every time they are near water, whether that is enjoying the pool in your backyard or at the lake or the beach. Always have appropriate water safety gear on when needed. Never leave them in the care of other children while they are in or near water.
The Red Cross and the YMCA, among others, have swimming courses and other water safety programs for children and adults of all ages.
We hope you and your family have a safe and fun-filled summer.
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