Why any of this matters

Today, when I woke up for an early flight this morning it was raining.  A grey morning with a crisp fresh air that has already briskly permeated a few days in our nation’s capital, these days bring renewal of a long anticipated spring ahead.

Indeed, it is easy to take such days for granted; life comes easy for most in our country, but today though we are blessed to live unburdened, we should not forget how we got to this May 2nd.

It was another day, nearly ten years ago that my generation reached its definitive moment; on a sunny and clear day in September four planes cut through the sky and into steel, glass and soil scarring the American and global psyche and challenging the very nature of the ideals we always strive to live but until that day had long since appreciated in full.

Last night at 11:35 pm in the East Wing of the White House, President Obama announced what many Americans thought they’d never hear.  The monster that masterminded the attacks of September 2001 had finally been brought to justice.  This century’s greatest coward met his end in a hail of bullets delivered by US Navy SEALs yesterday in a city 30 miles North of Islamabad.

I’m thinking of Captain Nichola Goodard this morning.  Nichola was an ordinary Canadian girl like any other; she was an outdoor enthusiast, a kind mother to her cats and dogs and sweetheart to her husband Jason.  Affectionately known as “Carebear” to her friends at home, this hometown all-Canadian girl was revered as a warrior to her brothers and sisters in the Canadian Forces.  Her LAV took gunfire in the Panjwaye District of Afghanistan in a pitched battle. Capt Goddard was fatally wounded and was Canada’s first female combat fatality.  Today, Capt Goddard’s sacrifice weighs heavily on my mind.

I am also thinking of Fawzia Koofi, Afghanistan’s most popular female Member of Parliament. While Capt. Goddard and Koofi had likely never met, these two have worked together to advance the liberty and hope of countless women in that Central Asian oft-forgotten country.  At great personal risk, Koofi stresses social and political change in a nation that is shamed by its history of brutal neglect and abuse that has high rates of infant and maternal mortality exacerbated by malnutrition and girls married off before they have reached their teenage years.  Now, while progress is slow, it is taking root; millions of girls are going to school.  Koofi’s has two daughters that reflect a changing mood; one wants to go into science and the other politics like her mom.  Koofi’s own ambitions may see her in a bid for the Presidency in 2014.

Today is election day in Canada.  Millions will vote and millions will wonder why they should be bothered. While take our spring days for granted, lest we forget the fall.  We are blessed with liberty and as a consequence, granted an easy path to let it drift into neglect.  There is no more poignant a reminder of our base responsibility as citizens than the violent exit of a sadist that brought ordinary people to accomplish the selflessly extraordinary.