Happy New Year, and may it be a safe, prosperous and peaceful one for all. As we sang Rabbie Burns' Auld Lang Syne last night to usher in 2002, the words 'Should auld acquaintance be forgot' segued in my ears into the commitment 'Lest we forget', made after a pivotal event of the last century, the war to end all wars. And indeed amidst all the events of 2001, those recent, tragic ones linger in our minds, that ended so many lives, dramatically changed others, and must not be forgotten.
As Benjamin Netanyahu warns in Fighting Terrorism, 'We have received a wake-up call from hell.' It is probably only the beginning, our perception of the world has changed and freedom is under siege. As airline passengers are rapidly discovering, we all need to become streetwise (or skywise) about the potential of terrorist action, just as citizens of Britain and Israel have already learned to be. After September 11th, 2001, life does go on, as it should, but more cautiously.
So we hugged the kids a little harder than usual last night as we thought of the many children who lost brave parents last year, and we promised ourselves not to forget. At the cusp of a time of uncertainty, let's all 'tak a cup of kindness yet / For auld lang syne' and raise it to toast our resolution never to forget to safeguard the freedoms that we still enjoy, for our children and for theirs.
John McCrae's immortal words from In Flanders Field echo now from Ground Zero ...
Take up our quarrel with the foe: To you from failing hands we throw The torch; be yours to hold it high
Happy New Year.
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