On this the sad anniversary of 9/11, we in England struggle to find the words to convey the feelings for your city’s and New Yorkers' immeasurable loss on that day. But may I, in my humble way, dare to rework some of the words from an older son of England, who used them to everlasting effect to convey his pride in the heroic bravery of his forefathers. Henry V's St Crispen’s day speech is William Shakespeare’s interpretation of how the king of England did stir his troops to victory, knowing that they were starving, ill, and demoralised, knowing that they faced certain death from the far greater French army at the battle of Agincourt. How do ordinary men and women communicate the words to explain extraordinary deeds by extraordinary people?
“If it be a sin to extol honour, then I am the most offending soul alive. The few, the fearless few, and heroic host of strangers, they that had the stomach for the fight, sworn to defend the fallen, but if to live, let them depart, their passport made, passage cleared, and aide for convoy put in place. They would not fall in that soul’s company that feared to fall while fight for life’s rescue unfinished. This day is called 9/11. We friends and relatives, then apart, feel ourselves saddened we were not there, and hold our sadness tightly while any speaks that fought for them upon 9/11. They that outlived that day and came safe home, do stand a tip-toe when this day is mentioned, and rouse them at the name. They that live and see old age will yearly on the vigil stir all and say, ‘To-morrow is the anniversary’ then, strip their sleeves and show their scars and say, ‘These wounds I had on 9/11.’ This story shall good world teach thy children, and 9/11 shall n’er go by but we in it shall remember with humility what feats they did that day. Then shall their names, familiar on our lips, be as household words--NYFD, NYPD, doctor, nurse, paramedical, and civilian. Prayers freshly offered, we will remember them from that day to the ending of the world.”
In reverential memory,
Sem Walker (Berwick-upon-Tweed, England)
*** Posted by Sem Walker on 2008-09-25 ***