On April 24th, 2013 I was invited to play Ingress by a local Enlightened Agent @LifeOnTheShore. I didn't know what I was getting into, but when he showed me the map and I saw that everything was green, I knew that I needed to be Resistance. He has commented several times since that decision that had he known how active I would become he never would have given me the invitation or let me be blue.
Many people say that Ingress is not a game, it is a way of life and I think they are right. Ingress transcends normal games by giving us an augmented (altered or different) view of the world around us and allows us to see things in our communities and surroundings that we otherwise never would have paid attention to, but it does more than that, it introduces us to people and stories that we never would have come in contact with either.
Today I am honored to share one of those stories with the world.
Today marks the 151st day for my guardian portal, but I can take very little credit for it being able to endure this long, you see, my guardian is less a part of the Ingress game and more of a tribute. Long before there were badges to be earned and stats we could look at on our scanners, I submitted two portals in memory of my 7 year old son Jason Philip Sanders who passed away in October of 2009. The Healing Garden http://www.ingress.com/intel?ll=38.75812,-76.080704&z=17&pll=38.75812,-76.080704
and Children At Play Healing Garden http://www.ingress.com/intel?ll=38.758348,-76.080961&z=17&pll=38.758348,-76.080961
The Healing Garden is a serene place that was created by our community for people who have lost a child. Bricks along the walkway, and plaques throughout the garden give the names of all the children who have moved on, but these are usually offered by friends and relatives and not the parents themselves. It is a place of reflection and remembrance.
Children at Play Healing Garden is a beautiful bronze statue that sits in the center of the Healing Garden that depicts a child pushing another child on a swing. This swing is not connected to anything at the top and gives the appearance that these children will be playing for all eternity.
When these portals went live, I was determined to get agents from far and wide to come and place their level 8 resonators on there, because I live in the center of a sea of green and there had NEVER been a level 8 Resistance Portal on the entire Eastern Shore of MD prior to these portals. Well, level 8 portals do a couple of things; for me it created a virtual beacon of light for the entire world of Ingress to see my son’s portals. For the Enlightened, it was a high level portal that needed to go down. Arguments erupted and tempers flared as the local factions fought over these portals. Realizing that this was the farthest thing from what I desired these portals to be, I let local ENL know that I could make no claim to ownership of these portals and that I would never want there to be contention over them because they were something that signified the life of my boy, I simply stated that I understood if people came and took them down but I would be thankful if they left them alone. I promised that they would never be used strategically for linking or fielding and that I would double flip them so that they would only show my agent name. Since that time, I have asked all Resistance coming to the area to please not use these portals and the Enlightened had done the same.
I never set out to get any sort of “reward” or “recognition” for these portals, but I am now looking at how incredibly awesome it is that my guardian has been achieved through the “protection” of the memory of my son. I am amazed that in the middle of a “game” I have experienced something so much greater and it was realized by competing factions. The Healing Garden is not where my son is buried nor is it a place dedicated to him, so I hope that others playing this game who have lost someone can also get something out of this personally.
Thank you to my Resistance Family who helped make this portal a level 8 and remembered to recharge when needed: +Eastern Shore of MD Resistance, +Resistance of Delaware, +Jason Strange +Rick Willis +Rich Fleming +Moses Halkopoulos +Raymond Cool +david march +Ashley Staten +Shauna Cooper +Michael Beard +DMV Ingress Resistance - Washington DC Metro
and so many others, and a special thanks to +Nikolas Moore
for bringing Jason’s story to the world.
Thank you also to the ENL: +Jamie Crannell +Christa Crannell +Jeremy Johnson +Brian Ragle +Steven Hirnickel
and many others.
How appropriate is it that this guardian was captured on Christmas Eve and received it’s 150 day badge on Memorial Day?