The red balloon, explained

From the time he could speak, my son Asher was an intensely passionate child when it came to things that interested him. From trains to the Titanic, and Harry Potter to airplanes, his father and I happily indulged his evolving passions in every way we could imagine.

 

As a high school freshman, Asher was introduced to the German culture by an inspiring teacher and a whole new passion was ignited: anything and everything having to do with Germany. Of course, this included exploring the German music scene and an eventual crush on 80's German pop star Nena- best known in the United States as the singer/songwriter of 99 Red Balloons. Inspired by the song and it's Cold War era plea for peace, Asher proposed the idea for 99 Luftballons Day, where on the 99th day of school, members of the German club would release 99 red balloons with attached messages pleading for peace in the modern world.

It was just two weeks after this event that Asher died and the red balloon instantly became a symbol for his life- in fact, I insisted his memorial feature no less than 999 red balloons. Eyecatching, uplifting and celebratory in nature, Asher's red balloon became the obvious choice for the Epic Memorials logo.

In 2013 I created the Asher A. Kinney Fly to Germany scholarship fund as a tribute to my son and his passion for aviation and "All Things German." Individual recipients of this scholarship receive financial assistance toward offsetting the cost of airfare necessary for participation in the German American Partnership Program, a non-profit high school exchange program between schools in Germany and the United States. You may contribute to the scholarship fund by clicking the donate button below.