Sunday, November 2, 2014

sound of courage

My Dad loved bagpipes.
He was proud of his Scottish heritage and that pride influenced the musical climate of the home I grew up in. Ballads and anthems, pipes and drums, they swirled and eddied around the living rooms of my childhood.
When my parents came to live with us here in the city, we trekked off to hear bagpipers whenever we could,
watched them compete,
watched them march in parades.
We especially loved the Delta Police Pipe Band. 
Their evenings were always a wonder.
When it came to the place in the program where the lone piper entered the darkened auditorium, my father always gulped back tears.
He was a veteran and I know that bagpipes made him remember.
It's because bagpipes are the sound of courage.

Veterans are gathering outside businesses for the annual sale of poppies.
As I waited in line to pay for my groceries this week, I heard pipers somewhere out in the parking lot.
There is a wildness to that sound, an irresistible call.
I felt a surge of unexpected emotion and tears rising like a tide.
I felt such sorrow for the suffering here and around the world, now and ever.
The battle for freedom is waged against forces of darkness with such immense courage and sacrifice.
On that day, it seemed to me, bagpipes were the soundtrack of freedom.

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