Sunday, July 6, 2014

Waiting Here for Everyman

Maybe like you, I've had an extended weekend in honor of Independence Day that I made even longer by taking a day off in advance of the holiday (my boss was fine with it and I suspect some at work actually prefer the quiet). Before I head back to work tomorrow here's an image I sort of owe you from our fireworks last night.

A holiday like July 4th can fool you into concentrating exclusively on Big Deeds by Big Men (look at the size of Hancock's signature on the Declaration), and that's okay because history is defined by critical actions at critical moments, but that's not the whole story.

Unless you have a family tree that traces every person to every beginning, none of us can name anyone who perished on either side of the Battle of Gettysburg and more than just Teddy went up San Juan Hill but who can name them.

The Battle of Belleau-Wood was more important to the survivors than those who sacrificed their lives but who among us knows any among either? The Normandy invasion just marked it seventieth anniversary but who has ever had a grandparent tell a story of life in those times.

And so it goes. We remember personalities, like Eisenhower but not the kid who jumped off the first LST too far from the shore at Omaha Beach to ever hope to make it. Over a million men and women in uniform have been injured in Iraq and Afghanistan but we only know names like Petreaus and McChrystal.

We are a nation of stories and we're just closing the book on the celebration of the biggest one we do every year. For most of us, the work-a-day returns tomorrow and we slowly accept the idea that the high point of the summer, the Fourth, is now in the rear-view.

But we each have a story and we should tell it aloud to one another or to no one but yourself if that's the only way you can tell it. Yes, the broad strokes on the canvas are important to the scope of the narrative but the filigree and shading that each lonely voice lends to the telling of the tale is what, in the end, causes it to resonate within all of us.

Every life is a song-sing it to the end. The world will wait-it always does.
-bill kenny

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