I know that I shall meet my fate,
Somewhere among the clouds above;
Those that I fight I do not hate,
Those that I guard I do not love;
My country is Kiltartan Cross,
My countrymen Kiltartan’s poor,
No likely end could bring them loss
Or leave them happier than before.
Nor law, nor duty bade me fight,
Nor public men, nor cheering crowds,
A lonely impulse of delight
Drove to this tumult in the clouds;
I balanced all, brought all to mind,
The years to come seemed waste of breath,
A waste of breath the years behind
In balance with this life, this death.
This a poem by William Butler Yeats, a great poet and Irish nationalist. The sentiment expressed here is stark, yet hauntingly elegant. The moment before his death seems to have accorded the Airman such startling clarity, that he met his end with complete equanimity.
If my world asks me to forget another,
then I reject my world.
If my nation asks me to fail another,
then I reject my nation.
If my religion asks me to trample another,
then I reject my religion.
If my culture asks me to ridicule another,
then I reject my culture.
If my identity asks me to erase another,
then I reject my identity.
I will have my conscience decide.
Who I shall be and what to abide.
In honor of President Obama’s speech for UN General Assembly, 2016. Thank you Sir, for your service and for inspiring a generation.
Made of steel
Why do you march
Through lonely fields?
Thy baron’s shield
Why do you swear
The oath to kneel?
Through tempest’s lull
Why do you steer
Your raven hull?
Son of Mars
In his gory task
How do you keep
your fearless mask?
By duty worn
How could you not