Remembering

The war had been over for nearly a quarter of a century by the time I was born with open eyes. Still, the images were somehow seared into my memory: the row houses with their teeth knocked out by the Blitz. I felt their dust gritting my teeth and their ash on my face; my ears were blasted to deafness by an explosive silence.

I wasn’t there, but I remembered.

And we will remember, even those of us who were not there when the planes fell out of the sky. But the bone memory of those who were there is passed on in the viscera even to their children; those unborn will remember, and see behind closed eyes the blue sky, and the vapour trail, and the smoke and dust and ash, and the gap-toothed skyline.

And it is the calling and the work and the vocation of the generations that bear those images, wherever we come from, whatever our memories, to pray for peace, to speak words of wisdom, to disarm violence, to try as we might to ensure that the next generation is not born with preloaded images of the evil that we people can do to one another, when we try.

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