Tuesday, March 9, 2010
The Meaning of Goodness
Even on a chilly day, with rain clouds scudding across the sky and a breeze whipping up the few dried leaves still clinging to the trees, people came. Some came in tour buses, others came in pairs. A solitary few walked with themselves and their ghosts.
Snow still lay on the ground of shaded slopes, the only bright note in a day of brown and grey. Silence reigned for some, broken only by the click of cameras capturing the "nation's shrine." On a hilltop a restless crowd shifted from foot to foot, from step to step, a susurration. The cameras clicked without pause, following the echoing footfalls of a man in uniform.
He is not there for them.
Just as the grave stones are only the cover of the lives, once lived, held beneath them, this soldier's vigil only appears to be performed for the witness of the living.
He does not dress with precision for those who will view it.
He does not carefully pace measured steps so they won't see him falter.
He does not keep a straight face as a posture of solemnity others can be touched by.
He was chosen and answered in service not to his country, not for his fellow citizens, but for his brothers and sisters in arms who lay beneath the snow. He is exacting in their memory. He does not falter to continue their strides. He is solemn out of respect for the sacrifices made by others just like him, who served and who died for their country, but even more for each other.
Goodness is found not in the act, but in the meaning. Goodness is in his quiet determination to give meaning to the lives lost, and to find his meaning in theirs.
This post was written as part of Bridget Chumbley's "One Word at a Time" blog carnival. Please visit her to read others' thoughts on Goodness.