He Would Have Been 17

July 5, 2017

Paxon Thomas Jordan would have been 17 years old last Saturday…but he departed this world ten years ago today. Called “Pax,” the youngster was a second grade student at Cowart Elementary School in Athens where he lived. An only child, Pax was reportedly happy and loved to play with the neighborhood children.

Independence Day was on Wednesday that year, and Pax’s parents Shannon and Beth had invited a 13 year old neighbor to come over the day after the Fourth. Fireworks were illegal within the Athens city limits, but Shannon was both considerate and safety conscious. There was no way he would let anything happen to the boys.

Shannon instructed Pax and his friend to stand against the backyard fence as he prepared the rocket. Called Smoke ‘n’ Mirrors, the fireworks Shannon planned to set off came in 1.75″ reusable tubes dubbed artillery shells. The setup offered long fuses for extra safety, and consequently Shannon anticipated a perfect launch. He lit the fuse and joined the two boys standing 30 feet away against the fence to the back garden. The trio watched as the fuse slowly burned its way to the shell placed on a table against the house.

Like most young families in the West Gate subdivision, the Jordans had a dog. Whether scared or just rambunctious, the bulldog picked the minute the fuse reached the shell to run past the table. As the table tilted, the artillery shell’s trajectory altered, causing the fireworks to blast toward the boys, hitting Pax just above the heart. It was 8:58 p.m.

As Pax lay lifeless, Shannon quickly placed him in the family’s car. Beth drove to the nearby Athens-Limestone Hospital as her husband performed CPR. Emergency Department personnel attempted to start Pax’s injured heart, but to no avail. A physician pronounced the Jordans’ son dead at 9:50 p.m.

The Jordans buried their son in Athens City Cemetery, adorning his grave with hockey sticks mingled among the flowers. There Pax’s earthly remains lie at the foot of an elaborate stone, forever seven years and five days old.


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