From the golden fields of grain in Ukraine to the classrooms of Uvalde, Texas it is hard not to feel deep sadness at the self-inflicted tragedies of life.
Wilfred Owen’s poem Futility captured this feeling during WW I in which the poet lost his life on November 4, 1918: :
Move him into the sun—
Gently its touch awoke him once,
At home, whispering of fields unsown.
Always it woke him, even in France,
Until this morning and this snow.
If anything might rouse him now
The kind old sun will know.
Think how it wakes the seeds—
Woke once the clays of a cold star.
Are limbs, so dear-achieved, are sides
Full-nerved, still warm, too hard to stir?
Was it for this the clay grew tall?
—O what made fatuous sunbeams toil
To break earth’s sleep at all?
Where is Hope?
The irony of memory is that lives transcend tragedy when we remember the people whose loss leaves a deep crevice in our soul. Especially those who gave us life and purpose when we faced our own uncertainties.
The most important event during the day when deployed in the Navy is mail call. That is a reminder of the reunion everyone longed for.
(Returning from Operation Golden Dragon, Yokosuka, Japan 1970. Mary Ann and Lara greet our brief stop to replenish before going back to sea. USS Windham County LST 1170 in background.)
Today an individual’s presence may not be physical, but the meaning they gave to our lives endures. That is how hope overcomes tragedy.