On the afternoon of November 11, faculty, staff, crew, and students gathered together on the MV World Odyssey for a memorial service to honor the life of Kassandra Arielle Braun.
Captain Kostas, crew, faculty, and friends shared songs, selections of poetry from each country the Fall 2017 Voyage has visited thus far, and memories of their time with Kassandra. At the end of the ceremony, voyagers formed a procession on Deck 7 aft and participated in a traditional maritime ceremony.
Though their time grieving is far from over, Fall 2017 Voyagers will continue to sail around the world, carrying the spirit and memory of Kassandra with them. As they do, the words of Professor Sarah Sloane, who taught Kassandra and spoke at length during her memorial ceremony, will help guide the entire shipboard community.
Professor Sloane has generously allowed her words to be transcribed here, in order to share with the larger Semester at Sea community what Fall 2017 Voyagers are experiencing.
“The morning after I heard this horrible, bad news, I stood inside the ship in Yangon looking out my cabin window. I watched the barn swallows rise and dip, blue bee-eaters among them lifting and sinking in the breeze. I watched those birds, the swallows and bee-eaters, trace that which is invisible. For the most part wind is invisible, expect maybe in trees and their branches bending, and birds, as they coast on its currents. That morning, those small birds’ wing beats were outlining the shape of the wind, the bias of their bodies swimming with the current, taking us with them through the air, allowing us to see the air’s invisible shifting in the stroke and glide of their flight.”
“Kassie was kind and faithful, generous and true‚Äîto her family and boyfriend back home, and her friends in Indiana and Texas, as well as all of us here on the ship. And Kassandra Arielle Braun’s life is like a wind that will push us along, our lives and the directions we choose in part an outline of her spirit.”
“As we honor her life, I want you to think about one thing: Kassandra Braun’s life embodies a question and offers one answer for helping you discover what your own meaning might be. She answered the question of her own meaning, with her deeply lived existence. Her life implicitly asks you to consider the question too. Think about it, the question posed by Mary Oliver and answered in one way by Kassie Braun. We owe it to her and ourselves to answer:
Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
Cards and messages of condolence can be sent to Kassie’s family via the Semester at Sea Home Office:
Kassandra Braun’s Family
C/O Semester at Sea
CSU Campus Delivery 1587
Fort Collins, CO 80523-1587
Information regarding funeral arrangements can be found here.