|From the 02 March 2009 Lockport Union Sun and Journal (Lockport, NY)|
A EULOGY FOR
Life is fragile. Its brevity is inescapable; there is not one of us who can live forever. No matter how virile, how powerful we once were, we cannot prevent the inevitable. We may be able to delay it, but, alas, when our time has come we will pass on. The sudden onset of illness or the gradual and overwhelming decay of old age will sap us of the invincibility we once thought we had much earlier in life.
Even though we understand this and know that we canít prosper for all eternity, it still shocks us when Death unleashes his steely grip upon our loved ones. In a way we expect death but then again we never do.
Maybe thatís why the death of our dear friend America is so difficult to fathom. We all thought she would outlive us, but she hasnít.
Surprisingly, many of her children are oblivious to her passing, her life coming to an end with so little fanfare. There are those of us, though, who knew what she stood for and we know now that her time has come and gone. She is, for all intents and purposes, dead. And, that is sad.
America was old, older than any of us could possibly dream of being. But, she was doing so well; just a few years ago we thought the old girl could go on forever. As a matter of fact, even in her twilight years she was stronger than she had ever been. She was fruitful and vibrant and all of her peers strived to be just like her.
In those remarkable golden years America had a lot to live for. Her children were prosperous, thriving amidst the liberty she gave them. And, oh, what a Liberty it was! She gave her children the freedom to do what they wanted and make of their lives what they wanted. She gave them a dream to dream and then she stayed out of their way and allowed them to get it. America believed that her children were better off assuming responsibility for their actions and reaping the rewards that were yielded by their hard work, risk, and morality. She was right. Her family achieved things once thought impossible.
Yes, America was such a unique mother, one quite unlike all others. But, children can turn on even the very best of mothers. And many of Americaís children did. Basically, they never grew up, so, into adulthood, they leaned on Mother America. They didnít like the freedom she gave them and they found greater value in security than they did in liberty. They didnít want to assume any responsibility for themselves and they instead begged their Mother for a bailout to save them from the risks they assumed. They didnít want to work hard and earn the best life that they could, it was too risky for them. Rather, they wanted the best life that their mother could give them out of her pocket. Too many of them came a-begging and - because there was only so much she could give - the best life that she could award them paled in comparison to that which her children could once achieve on their own. Things became so bad that America herself had to lean on someone: Her prosperous children were forced to pick up the slack for the children who took her gifts for granted.
And thatís what killed America. Her health suffered under such emotional and financial strain. Never before did she have to give as much as she did and it drained her life force. She died penniless because of it. And, she also died heartbroken because of it, for it hurt her to see that her lessons failed, that her children chose to ignore them. Could they ever go back to the way they were? No doubt that was a questioned that haunted her to her grave. Deep down inside she knew the answer was "no".
But, life must go on.
Her children have since been adopted by something that calls herself America. But this new America is nothing like the old. The real America is dead and her loss is going to leave a void, a depression, in our lives. All of her children - those who learned well from her and those who used her Ė will suffer without their true mother.
God bless America. Iíll miss her.
One day, you will, too.
RETURN TO GREATER NIAGARA EDITORIALS