My Turn: Why we will endure

For the Monitor
Published: 4/14/2020 6:30:36 AM

Back during World War II the U.S. government put out a series of films titled “Why We Fight.” In some ways they could be termed propaganda, meant to help unite the home front and inspire soldiers going into battle. But beyond that they presented an overview of why America was worth fighting for. Their stories were about the importance of democracy and the freedoms this country represented and stood for, along with a few jabs at fascism and Nazis.

I have been thinking about that series and how we could all use a dose of inspiration at this moment in time. Rather than calling it “Why We Fight” it would be called “Why We Will Endure.” As I took my walk today, under a bright sky and far removed from the chaos and sadness of hospitals in Boston, New York and around the world, I wondered about what kind of things that film would present. I started to make a list in my head, adding to it with every step.

The buds on trees and bushes, the flowers starting to spring from the dirt and show their green.

The smiles of accommodation from people passed as we shift our steps to the grass on opposite sides of the sidewalk.

The people I know sewing masks for health care workers.

The people I know who are health care workers, struggling to make well those who are sick and protect us all, while putting themselves in harm’s way.

The tolerance of people standing in line patiently waiting to get into Market Basket.

The list grows easily in my head as I walk, and things uniquely Concord begin to populate the column. With each addition my step goes a little faster.

The Rock ’N Race.

Fourth of July at Memorial Field.

The Capitol Center for the Arts.

Red River Theatres.

The international flags on Main Street light poles during welcome week in September.

The people who are able to donate to the Concord Monitor.

The Concord Monitor.

The Nevers Band.

Hatbox Theatre.

The Music School.

The sculptures on Main Street.

The Friendly Kitchen.

White Park and the Marjorie Swope trail.

The Concord Multi-Cultural Festival and groups like the Be the Change Club at Concord High School that celebrate our diversity and welcome new people to our city.

My daughter’s friend who is studying medicine at Harvard and has called twice to pray with us on the phone.

The list grows, sprouting reminders of life awaiting. I, we, will endure because we know there is future calling and we all want to see it, be it, live it. The foundations all remain in place, idle for the moment, question marks overhead for sure. But with confidence, patience and time we will bring them back to life. They are too numerous to list, and I know everyone carries their own additions to the tally.

Beethoven, Mozart, Debussy, the Beatles, my piano – this one could get out of control real quick, so will leave it at that. You get the idea.

Watching a movie together with a fire blazing in the fireplace.

Walks in the woods.

Canoeing and paddle boarding on the Contoocook River (just to be clear, I will be in the canoe).

Peaches from my peach tree and wild blackberries from the bushes behind our house.

The Saturday morning farmers market on Capitol Street.

Paul, our postman.

The arms that ache to give each other a hug.

There are hundreds of lights waiting at the end of this tunnel through which we must pass. I am energized and full of hope just knowing they are ahead. As the marquee at the Capitol Center for the Arts has been saying, “We will be here when it’s OK to come back.” Not if, but when.

Light your candle. Take your walk. Make your own list and add to it daily. Prepare for a Concord that is different. But know that most of the old, recognizable things will be right there as well. Be confident that what we carry in our heart will also remain. Getting through is a challenge. But have no doubt about why we will endure.

(John Gfroerer of Concord owns a video production company based at the Capitol Center for the Arts.)

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