Pearl Jam’s, “Jeremy” has lasted as one of the band’s most important songs to offer social commentary on shootings in schools, US gun laws, bullying and youth suicide. The track deals with the real-life suicide of US school student Jeremy Wade Delle, who shot himself in front of his class back in January 1991.
The group’s hit single has endured as a chilling observation of one of life’s all too common tragedies. Delle’s mother, Wanda Crane, and his former classmate, Brittany King, have opened up about the incident nearly 30 years since the sad incident took place.
Ms Crane was speaking to the ABC’s WFAA, “That day that he died did not define his life. He was a son, a brother, a nephew, a cousin, a grandson. He was a friend. He was talented.” Ms Crane also described how she felt when she first received the news of her son’s death. “I was in my office at work. I didn’t believe it. I was in shock. Not my son. I was going to pick him up that afternoon at school.”
Jeremy was a becoming a promising artist before his death. “He won first prize at the Texas State Fair. He won best of shows, and this was all before he was 12 years old.” According to CoS, Ms Crane still keeps the paintings hanging up around her home, one depicts an elephant in a drawing that got her son an award at age seven.
Brittany King, however, was actually in the classroom at the time of Delles’ suicide, “Shock and fear went into my mind. All the students kinda ran into the back of the room and huddled. This was a big wakeup call. Like, you know what? Life is not all hunky-dory all the time. Real things, tragedies happen. It made me grow up pretty quick, literally overnight.”
When asked Pearl Jam’s song, King is not really a fan, as she says: “I was angry at them for writing that song. I thought You don’t know. You weren’t there. That story isn’t accurate.” Ms Crane did not comment on the track but has used the sad experience for good to help connect and offer inspiration to others who are going through the same pain. Twelve years ago, she began heading a support group at her church, which she still does today.
Speaking about present-day school shootings and tragedies, Crane comments, “I think of the sisters. I think of what’ll be said or what opinions will be thought about … It’s the mothers and the sisters that I want to wrap my arms around and tell them that someday it’ll be better.”
You can watch the interviews with both Crane and King below.
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