In just one lifetime we have come so far. There are so many great and epic stories of hardships overcome that we cannot but be grateful to those who have gone before us. The children of then who are elderly now see it clearest of course and if we are very lucky and smart enough in the first place to ask nicely, they’ll tell us of it and remind us of just how strong we all are. From the farthest reaches of living memory where the dark sight of black boots and red, black and white emblems call to us there is always the other side wherein the ordinary mother or father or daughter or son smuggled innocence. Alas the rawness endured then and the drastic falsehood smeared across many nations wrought such a disgusting madness that those memories are still vivid in our most senior citizens, but remember, they are still here to tell the tale. They can recall too the coming together of miners who rose up and cracked open the armour of a red horror that others came to and cracked also until the day that those many nations were rid of their hateful elite. Many a hard night was spent biding. Many an even harder day was spent concealing the values gifted those strong enough to resist.
In the years after as markets opened and riches trickled out there became a form of self that had never been seen before. There was excess. There was needlessness in wears. There were even haughty reactions to the age old lack of luxury. And yet still then, as perhaps shall always be, leaders swelled themselves and claimed rights that they could never possess simply because they had to take them. And still the people lived their lives unsullied by the muck in which so many politicians swim. The folk of the land still sang and danced as new years were born. They all came to the widow’s house when a husband was buried. They brought their baskets to mass on Easter and they showered what they could upon newlyweds.
Music too in those hardest years was sweeter still, sweetest even, but us youths have no concept of that power. To us it is words on paper and screens. To those who lived it it is a truth as delicious as a final sunset. We too, sadly, will face the demons of our generation, the spirits of our lesser selves, but we will not lay down in their shadow for we come from a long, long line. And our line is not a weak or fickle horde that breaks when it is bent. Ours is not a line that calls out for mercy at the first blow. Our is a great mountain of grit and will and love that is evidenced by our every breath. It is in our voice when we sing and laugh. It is in our deeds when we take our tools and plough and kneed the very fabric of our future.
It is us who can laugh and play now, we lucky masses, us who have been assured in spite of all the walls raised and torn down, all the jackals and wolves and all the fear for desperate hope clung to in the coldest darkness of humanity. This is the legacy we are given by our elders. Should we too be of such grand fortune as to one day become elders ourselves I hope that we can hold up our heads as our forbearers do. I hope. I hope with all the strength and honour that my parents and grandparent instilled in this simple fool. I love in the face of every lunatic that bombs or shoots their way to whatever they desire. I laugh at all the madness now, for none of it is anything compared to what my ancestors fought through to make sure that I was born. Laugh with me, as my grandparents do at every turn.

Stephen Fahey
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