Lieutenant-Colonel Eddie Lamb sends strong message during Osagi Bascome funeral tribute
Lieutenant-Colonel Eddie Lamb gave those in attendance at Osagi Bascome’s funeral plenty to think about when he was asked to give a tribute at Sunday’s memorial service for the former St George’s and Bermuda footballer.
Lamb, a cousin of the young footballer who was killed a month ago at the age of only 23, urged society to take responsibility for how our young people are raised these days. He called Bascome’s death a senseless act and “a watershed moment for all of us”.
“Carla and Herbie asked me to give a tribute to our son, Osagi,” Lamb began. “For some context, Herbie and Carla are both my second cousins, Herbie on the Lamb/Pitcher side and Carla on the Foggo side.
“I have spoken at countless funerals but this is by far the most painful for me. I simply cannot shake the numbness that started when my phone rang early that dreadful morning.
“In paying tribute to this beautiful soul name Osagi, I want to talk about love and light. Just look at this Royal Gazette headline: ”To know Osagi is to love him“.
“No headline around the world could be more accurate than that one. Like all his brothers, Osagi exuded love and pure love poured out from this bie’s spirit and from every fibre of his soul.
“That same genuine love I felt when he was just a little bie when I took him on a field trip with me one day and he got car sick. As I carried him from the car to the restaurant where we were going to eat, he wrapped his little arms around my neck ‒ he was only about 7 ‒ and said, ‘Uncle Eddie, I really love you but you drive like a maniac!’
“That same profound love I felt last year at [Bailey’s] Bay at a county game. I hadn’t seen him for quite a while, he came up to me with that million-dollar smile, grabbed me and hugged me. That smile of his melted me and I could feel his pure love pouring out of him into me.”
Lamb added: “Osagi was a bright light in this world, but I believe we all have a light within us. But some shine their lights brighter than others.
“We have to shine our lights to eliminate the darkness in this world, so that people won’t sneak up on us in the dark.”
Like many, Lamb is still trying to make sense of the violent death of a young footballer in the prime of his career.
“Beyond this pain and sorrow, after this funeral service, and even after the words spoke here today, we have got to give a different tribute to Sagi,” Lamb urged the mourners at St George’s Cricket Club.
“All of Bermuda cannot go on doing the same and being the same,” he urged. “Somebody help me understand how we even got here today, where the reality is we haven’t instilled proper values in some of our youth.
“Help me understand how a bie can leave home with a knife or a gun. Who does that? I don’t even know how I’m supposed to feel here today at the senseless loss of our precious Osagi.
“Angry, vengeful, resigned to the loss ... of another Black man who just happens to be my cousin. What I do know is we, including you youth, have to change things.
“This craziness cannot continue. This animosity between East and West – yes, I said it – youths killing youths, dreams being deferred and even eliminated. We had dreams for Sagi.
“No more families should have to suffer this pain due to the ignorance we tolerate, and even cultivate, in our youth. Sagi leaves a legacy far beyond this football field and far beyond this club, and far beyond our country.”
Lamb, a former Commissioner of Prisons and Commanding Officer of the Royal Bermuda Regiment, demanded society do more as a whole.
“Osagi’s death cannot be in vain, Osagi’s love and life cannot be taken from us in this crazy manner without some changes being made in how our youth, and our adults, live their lives,” he stated.
“His love and life will mean nothing if we don’t change the negative lifestyle that leads to death, destruction and pain. It is our collective responsibility to make a difference and to be a difference.
“I honestly feel that with the magnitude of Sagi’s death we are at a crossroads as a country with the future of our youth. Losing somebody like Osagi ... given how he spread love and life up and down this country, has got to be a watershed moment for all of us.
“We have to root all of our youth in basic values for life and for living. Put down the weapons and pick up a Bible and learn some consciousness.
“We have to embed values in our youth that promote love and kindness, values that demand less emphasis on material things, less focus on living in the moment and less desire for a worldly good time.
“We have to teach and emphasise respect for self and others. And above all, teach them, like Herbie and Carla taught their children, to stay humble and eliminate false pride and vanity.
“I am comforted, as much as one can be comforted in such a horrible time as this, by the knowledge that Sagi will never die in our hearts and minds.”
Qes Paulos Goater, one of the officiating clergy at the Ethiopian Orthodox service, asked in his closing remarks: “Is it easier to take a man’s life than to reason things out?
“Know yourself. Death ends a life, not a relationship.
“Hold on strong to the memories of Osagi and continue to love one another.”
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