Stories Need To Be Told...
...lest they dissolve into oblivion.
There are moments that need to be captured and made eternal simply because there is a wealth of emotions and spirituality in them. Painting a picture with words is one of the ways to immortalize these for people who were not there and for the future generation.
This is my contribution....
Friday, March 11, 2011
My deep telephone conversation with a friend was interrupted by the shrill trill of sirens.
Looking out the window, i saw a flock of motorcycles, about 50 of them, in formation. Then I saw firetrucks, red and shiny, in formation as well. There were white balloons tied on the sides, doing a boogie with the wind.
Then I spotted it.
The mightiest looking firetruck among the group. Atop it, perched on a ladder was a coffin, draped in the Philippine Flag. It was surrounded by 'honor guards' - men from the fire bureau in their dark blue office attire, complete with cap. They stood sturdily at the sides of the coffin, with a stoic expression on their faces.
Something tugged at my heart as I took in the whole scene. Fifty motorbikes, each with a single white balloon tied to it; a parade of firetrucks, about eight of them with lights flashing; this one remarkable firetruck with its precious cargo; and about thirty more vehicles at the tail end.
I stared at the big firetruck with the flag-draped coffin. The bumper was covered by a tarpaulin where a picture of who I supposed was the deceased was printed. He was in uniform. He looked distinguished. He looked kind. He was smiling. He looked like someone's father, brother, husband, son. I couldn't help but wonder though, who he was in the context of all these people who came out on a Sunday, prepared for all this, to send him off.
Like a camera lens, I zoomed out to take in the whole scene again and I thought to myself "Boy, this man must be loved, to be accorded this kind of ceremony. Simple but very dignified. What a way to be sent off."
That is when the word came to the fore of my consciousness.
He must be one. At least to all these people who came out on a Sunday to say goodbye to him, with this much respect. He must have carried his duty to the hilt. He can't have been a VIP, not to the general population anyway, because I am quite sure I would have heard about him, and his consequent death.
I looked at this somber parade. I tried to study the faces, specially of his 'honor guards'. I did not know him- this dead man. I did not even know his name. But I felt a sense of loss in his death.
Maybe it is just the times in this little archipelago I call home. Where an accomplished general goes to the tomb of his mother to shoot himself in the heart. While, another faces yet more seemlingly endless inquiries while the country endures another whiplash from corruption.
Maybe my heart was in desperate need of a hero. One who is just one, for the sake of it.
Maybe this firefighter, whose name I did not even know.
I hoped he was a good man.
I still want to believe they exist.
We could use some.
Right about now.
at 9:15 AM