We Are The Dead

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Major John McCrae’s poem has immortalised the symbolism of the poppy in Western culture. The words are haunting:

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

He writes about those taken too early. But it is the legacy someone leaves that is what matters. This too is contained in the final stanza of this poem, paraphrased here on the anniversary of the MH17 tragedy, one year on:

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though sunflowers grow
In Ukrainian fields.

I have been absent from this blog for a few months. I’ll explain that later. But for now, let’s take stock of why it is important to press forward, as if our duty is to take up that unfinished quarrel with the foe. Nick Norris was passionate about thinking differently, and applying systems-changing thinking to co-create a better world. At the time of his death, while I was motivated to embolden my commitment to the 10 City Bridge Run journey as a tribute to his influence, I also at the same time felt constrained to do so because of the very public nature of the incident and media profile given to seeking stories about the family.

I look back now and can understand my actions. I think I did the right thing, but now it is also time for action, and now it is perhaps the right time to honour his legacy as an influence in this journey. And as I write that, my thoughts can’t be too far removed from my brother, especially as no one could have known at the time that on this anniversary this year it would be more poignant for our family to remember.

I’m back into it, and taking their legacy forward as a driving influence. I’ll tidy up this site and write more about that in the days that follow. For now, suffice to say that the torch has been caught and held aloft.


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