I’ve never been the type of person to be overly patriotic. I’m too cynical and sarcastic to wave too many flags, or tear up at displays of blind patriotism. Don’t get me wrong, I love my country, my state, my city. I am sometimes even cynical about he overall actions of humanity. These personal traits tend to cover up my deep seeded belief in the goodness of humanity. It is there, I just have a hard time expressing it, but the events of the last few days have compelled me to express my beliefs a little more honestly.
I have been absolutely incapable of a decent night of sleep. Not because of fear, anger, or concern. I just keep thinking about the people who rushed in to help the victims of the bombing in Boston. The National Guardsmen who jumped into helping the victims, doing their duty automatically, with no regard to themselves. Sure, they are trained, but this was not a war zone, they are not on duty (ok, maybe they always are). To me, that is a sense of immense pride. To see how the national guard, actually went to work guarding the innocents in Boston, that is a reminder of all the good that still exists in our military.
My thoughts are also focused on people like Carlos Arredondo, who lost both his sons due to war or depression. This is not a man trained for combat, he was a grieving father, that has dedicated his life to bringing focus on the issues regarding PTSD, depression etc. He pushes for peace, and caring of others. In the middle of this carnage, Arredondo jumps in to help, no regard given to his safety. Arredondo rushes to help and just holds an artery shut for a man who has lost his leg, saving his life. Arredondo is an immigrant, and that is significant to point out because this is a country of immigrants. People whose families have come from different places and cultures. This is the crossroads of humanity, and the actions of the all of the bystanders in Boston prove that humanity will jump in and help when faced with adversity. People will do this in spite of the malevolent actions of another. To see love and caring win out over anger and hate is a wonderful thing.
I am immensely proud of the people in my life, despite disagreements on trivial, or even major, issues. In the face of the horrible things that have happened, they have stood together on wanting justice to be done. Perhaps this sense of justice and caring isn’t just and American ideal. Americans are not unique in their pursuit of justice, or in their capacity to care. They are human traits, that may be easier to express in a nation such as the US, but they are traits that will always come to the surface. The actions of the “Helpers” remind me of a quote:
“Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves.
Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.” – Bruce Lee
The human spirit is “like water”, always changing to adjust new challenges, but remaining the same.