Thursday, September 13, 2007

Humility & Respect

I will not be at the commemoration ceremonies at Dawson today. I do not have the right to be there; I was not present 365 days ago when a monster opened fire on unarmed, defenceless students in one of the most evil acts I have witnessed in my lifetime – albeit remotely. The girl I love was, and she will be there today.

It is a terrifying thing that a single day can be forever tainted by the actions of a single man and I will not, as is my custom, oppose the social current with vehemence and anger. I have only sympathy & sadness & mourning in my heart, today. My memories of September 13th, 2006 are crisp, clear and unbearably painful even a year after the fact.

One would be right in asking me how, if I was absent from the events themselves that can possibly be the case. The answer is not so difficult.

I believed that the woman I loved was dead.

For two hours, when I could not reach her and no one I could reach had seen or heard from her – when her mother called me, looking for her – I feared the worst. I became lame, useless at work and inconsolable. My boss; a kind, sympathetic & intelligent man, allowed my professional delinquency. I spent hours that seemed like days making frantic phone calls, tracking down every soul in the school who might know where she, my girlfriend, really was.

I was rude & insulting to very many friends, that day, hanging up the moment I got an answer – always one that I didn't want – and barking questions at them without ever saying hello, or asking about their welfare.

I am happy to say that they have since forgiven me; I may not have been so kind. I am proud to know these people who've overcome an experience which could not have been less than an order of magnitude worse than my own, if that might illustrate how horrific a day 9/13 truly was.

I tip my hat to them. I bow my head to them. I give them my mourning & respect and humble recognition of their right to be on Campus today; it is not mine and I have no wish to claim it. The way that these people have handled themselves in the wake of this horrible tragedy is exemplary and embarrassing in contrast to my own wracking survivor's guilt.

We mustn't forget this day. We cannot forget the grace and serenity with which those who lived through the attack have overcome terrible emotional anguish to be able to function in a world that moved on before it had a right to.

Most of all, we must never forget that the man who attacked students and young adults on that day was an evil monster, that the ultimate responsibility for the tragedy falls with him and that he must never be made a victim of the same society that created the exemplary people he injured.

1 comment:

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