Saturday 10 November 2012

Remembrance Day

Tomorrow is Remembrance Day and I always like to take some time to pause and reflect.

This may not be entirely kosher, but I've always told my boys that Remembrance Day is to remember all of those who have given their lives to keep others safe.  Soldiers, police officers, firefighters and common citizens.

Soldiers certainly bear the brunt of the burden of putting themselves in physical danger in order to keep the rest of us safe and my additions are not intended disrespectfully.  But police officers and firefighters also put their lives on the line as a part of their jobs.  And to me, the memory of an ordinary citizen making an extraordinary effort should be remembered.

I've always liked the imagery of someone standing between the people and the darkness.  I love the line from A Few Good Men.  "They stand on a wall and tell you: nothing's going to hurt you tonight.  Not on my watch."  I also love JMS's pledge for the Grey Council.  "I am grey, I stand between the darkness and the light.  We are grey, we stand between the candle and the star."

But most of all, the words from JMS's 9/11 Spider-man comic resonate:

What do we tell the children?
Do we tell them evil is a foreign face?
No.  The evil is the thought behind the face, and it can look just like yours.
Do we tell them evil is tangible?  With defined borders and names and geometries and destinies?
No.  They will have nightmares enough.

Perhaps we tell them that we are sorry.
Sorry that we were not able to deliver unto them the world we wished them to have.
That our eagerness to shout is not the equal of our willingness to listen.
That the burdens of distant people are the responsibility of all men and women of conscience, or their burdens will one day become our tragedy.

Or perhaps we simply tell them that we love them and that we will protect them.
That we would give our lives for theirs and do it gladly, so great is the burden of our love ....

The fire of the human spirit cannot be quenched by bomb blasts or body counts.
It cannot be intimidated forever into silence or drowned by tears.
We have endured worse before; we will bear this burden and all that come heareafter,
Because that's what ordinary men and women do.

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