This Memorial Day will take on an entirely new and somber meaning for the family and friends of Rick Best, the retired serviceman who was one of two people murdered by a white supremacist on a Portland train last week.
Best and the other victim, Taliesin Myrddin, were trying to defend two young Muslim women who were being harassed on the train by 35-year-old Jeremy Joseph Christian. Christian has been shown in videos at rallies giving the Nazi salute. According to KOIN6, he became a convicted felon in 2002.
Best, 53, was a husband and father of four. The Oregon native was headed home on the MAX train when the tragic event occurred.
He was an employee of the city of Portland. Kareen Perkins, Best’s supervisor at the Bureau of Development Services, said, “He was always the first person you would go to for help. I’ve talked to most of his co-workers today, and several of them said it’s just like Rick to step in and help somebody out.”
Myrddin’s mother, Asha Deliverance, said of her son, “My dear baby boy passed on yesterday while protecting two young Muslim girls from a racist man on the train in Portland. He was a hero and will remain a hero on the other side of the veil. Shining bright star I love you forever.”
A third stabbing victim lived to tell about the experience.
Micah Fletcher, 21, is a student at Portland State University and a poet. His poem about the attack, written from his hospital bed Saturday, was shared by the Oregonian:
I, am alive, I spat in the eye of hate and lived.
This is what we must do for one another, We must live for one another, We must fight for one Mother, We must die in the name dfreedome (sic) if we have to.
Luckily it’s not my turn today.
At the time of the attack, Fletcher was headed back to Portland State after working his shift at pizza restaurant.
Fletcher was in surgery for two hours, with doctors removing bone fragments from his throat. His girlfriend, Miranda Helm, told the Oregonian that Fletcher was stabbed in the left side of his neck, and that his blood-soaked clothing — including his jeans, shoes and T-shirt — were in an evidence bag in his hospital room.
“It’s kind of a miracle that he survived it,” Helm told the newspaper.