Friday, August 29, 2008

I've been reading a mystery (I'm almost always reading a mystery!): this one by a Canadian named Louise Penny. The book is called The Cruelest Month, an allusion to T.S. Eliot's assessment of April. Lots of poetry, a strong story of good and evil and how we tend to encompass both. But what struck me about this book was a short passage when Armand Gamache, the protagonist, enters the village church which oddly is named St. Thomas:

He'd been in St Thomas's often enough and on this fine morning knew light from an old stained glass window would be spilling out onto the gleaming pews and wooden floor. The image wasn't of Christ or the lives and glorious deaths of saints, but of three young men in the Great War. Two were in profile, marching forward. But one was looking straight at the congregation. Not accusing, not in sorrow or fear. But with great love as though to say this was his gift to them. Use it well.
Beneath were inscribed the names of those lost in the wars and one more line.
They Were Our Children.

Here is a fictional story about an imaginary village that somehow manages to capture a truth that eludes my local elected officials. Remembering our dead is important. Remembering why they died is paramount. Remembering that they loved us makes sense of it all.


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