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Monday, 09 May 2011

Why We Celebrate

By Jeanne Waite Follett of Gullible's Travels

Late last night I heard the news
about the death of a tall, gentle-eyed man
with murderous evil in his heart
and thousands of deaths at his feet.

I watched for hours as the news poured in,
watched as people gathered
in front of the White House
and at Ground Zero.
They cheered and chanted “USA! USA! USA!”

Was it my imagination, when I turned off the TV,
did I stand a little straighter?
Were my shoulders back a little farther?
Was the White House a little whiter?
Was Ground Zero a little brighter?
Did we return some swagger to our troops?

Today some ask if it is proper
to celebrate the killing of a man
who ordered the deaths of so many,
who caused the loss and maiming of many more,
who hid behind a woman in his final moments.

That is not why we celebrate.
We mark the years of grieving,
the suspicion that perhaps we weren’t equal to the task,
that maybe we’d slipped, that we were too soft.
The lungs that today expel the air
that passes through the larynges
that transforms those breaths to cheers
in celebration are not for the death
of a coward who sent others to do his evil.

Those cheers are for one purpose:
To lighten the souls of those we’ve lost,
and the hearts of those that mourn them,
that they might soar higher. Yet, in my heart I feel
the life of my friend Chris
and of all the other lives lost
because of this madman
are worth far, far more
than the lives of tens of thousands
of men with evil in their hearts.

[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Instructions for submitting are here.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


Your poem is beautiful, and helps me to sort out my own conflicted thoughts on the subject, and isn't that one of the purposes of poetry? Thanks.


You have surely said it all. At least you have said what I would have said if I could write a beautiful poem like this one.

Powerful and beautiful. Thanks for helping me make sense of it all.

I am glad some are speaking up about this. You did it well

The celebrations on TV were mostly college kids. Consider a warm night in May, would you rather be in a dorm studying or out on the streets with your friends? The TV cameras increased their excitement. This generation has had Osama Bin Laden as an enemy for almost half of their lives. Add to that the recession, a bad job market, and expensive student loans. They deserve a celebration. The rest of us either were relieved by the news or were asleep.
Also, remember the 60’s? The anti-war protests could be both serious and ridiculous at times.

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