Saturday, April 25, 2009


On this day in history one year ago I stood with my Nana on a small cemetery plot, just north of Auckland, where my Gramps shares his final resting place with other World War Two veterans, and for the first time, that I can recall, I felt stirrings of patriotism and awe reflecting on the sacrifice made by my forebears. 

I am a part of the human drama that has been unfolding relentlessly since nobody can remember. Only a small part. In the grand sweep of human history this moment was merely the tinkling of a triangle in some grandiose symphony, but oh what a tinkle. If I am a part, there must be other parts and other players who have made my part possible and given it meaning.

The Greatest Generation are playing their final notes now, but their music and spirit will continue to linger. Nana has gone to join Gramps in heaven or memory. I remember them. I remember their legacy. They were people. They lived and loved and fought for what they believed in. Ordinary people doing extraordinary things. 

I think of all the unborn children of all the unrealized parents who never made it this far because their would-be fathers died at war. I marvel at how sentimentality can devolve into self-congratulatory comparison in an almost zero-sum game, but there it is. All this from the vantage point of a tiny hill in sleepy Walkworth. Because of others I am here, and alive, and I speak English. Today is a good day.

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