8/23/21, “A call to Victory!”
I hope you’ve had a good week, and are enjoying the last of the summer. The weather has been chilly in Europe this summer, and on the East Coast of the US, where I just spent some time with my kids, and San Francisco is gray and enveloped in smoke again, fighting fires again. And the East Coast is braced for a hurricane. So, we haven’t been spoiled with the weather. But it’s still great to have some down time!!! And kids are already going back to school in some areas, so this is the last of summer. And it’s been a challenging one, still battling Covid. We’re discovering that even vaccinated people can catch it, less severely, and the vaccinations supposedly prevent death and severe cases that wind up in the ICU, which is a big plus, but people are getting sick nonetheless and can be carriers, so we ALL have to be careful, and all of those who aren’t vaccinated are at high risk, and have to be doubly careful.
And cities and governments are taking a firm stand. In Paris, you have to show official proof of vaccination to get into stores, restaurants, or anything public. They will accept a negative PCR Covid test if you’re not vaccinated. San Francisco (being the other city I know best) will only accept proof of vaccination, and not a PCR test. So, if you’re not vaccinated, you’re pretty well stuck in San Francisco. And increasingly, masks are being required, even outdoors. We’re all trying to do everything we can to beat Covid, especially faced with the highly contagious Delta variant, which cancelled rapidly many of our new found freedoms, and made daily life and any semblance of normalcy more dangerous again.
I have on my desk, a stacked filing box, which I refer to as my Outbox, where I pile things that are important to keep where they can be easily found, or things that I particularly love, letters, poems, a few photographs. It is usually a towering stack of papers, which threatens to cause an avalanche of papers onto my desk if someone bumps it. In order to avoid the avalanche, I woke up early last weekend, and decide to go through it, which I do from time to time, and I’m always surprised to find what I’ve buried there. There are some buried treasures there, and I found a copy of a poster that I always keep and really love. It dates back to June 18th, 1940, the day after the Germans occupied Paris during the last war. I wasn’t born then, but it’s a letter that is dear to most French people’s hearts, and has survived for more than eighty years. When the Germans occupied France, a French general, General Charles de Gaulle was the head of the Free French Forces and the Resistance, fighting to free France again from the occupying enemy forces. The day after the Occupation by German troops, that poster appeared all over France, to encourage people to hang on, not to give up, and to do all they could to regain their freedom and save their country. (It always makes me cry when I read it). You can imagine how people must have felt to have their cities and country taken, and being subjected to their enemy governing their country. When I came across it, I read it and thought that it applies to our battle against Covid too. Our fight against Covid is like a war against an unseen enemy, which has taken over our lives, robbed us of our freedom in so many ways, and puts us in danger every hour of the day. And so much of General de Gaulle’s poster to rally the French seemed to apply to us now. These are the parts that made me think of our ongoing battle for health, safety and freedom from Covid:
It is written to the citizens of France at the time, but applies to all citizens of the world now.
“We have lost a battle!! But we have not lost the war!!!
Opportunistic rulers have taken over, giving way to panic, delivering us to slavery. Yet nothing is lost! Nothing is lost because this is a world war. In the free universe, immense forces have not yet been brought into play. Some day we will crush the enemy. On that day, we must be present at the Victory. We will then regain our freedom and our greatness.
That is my goal, my only goal!!
That is why I ask all citizens, wherever they may be, to unite in action, in sacrifice, and in hope.
Our world is in danger of death. Let us fight to save it!”. It’s signed General de Gaulle.
It is a rousing call to freedom, a branch to hang onto and not give up hope. So often those words have encouraged me to hang on in threatening situations, and it did so again when I read it.
Covid won’t win in the end. We WILL regain our freedom. We have to hang on and do all we can to reach the end of this rocky road, together, and each of us has to do all that we can to beat this enemy. I hope these words help you feel stronger, and give you hope.
Have a great week, and stay safe.
with all my love, Danielle
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Thank you, Danielle.
I also found the following excerpt from your recent book, “Complications”, full of hope and healing. I think it should be ok to post as there is no real spoiler alert from it.
“There was no question that life was complicated. But in the complications were both the questions and the answers, the hidden solutions and unexpected blessings. All one needed was the courage to pursue them. In the end, the complications they had run into had served them well. And whatever the answers and the solutions, and no matter how hard the road, every day was a gift.”
“Complications,” page 243
I posted it on my blog.
Well said as always we’ve been at this road before, and the excerpt from your book ” complications ” shared by Rob Scott your book is just perfect fir this moment
Dear Ms. Steel, I’ve been inspired by so many of your quotes and poems. I have looked EVERYWHERE- Your published poetry, other books, and countless searches online. Cosmopolitan magazine used to include brief poems, quotes, etc. in every edition. I think this poem appeared in Cosmo during 1970s, probably 1971-1974. I was quite young when I experienced love & loss for the 1st time. Your poem made me think that perhaps I could go on 🙂
The brief poem began something like this: you are no longer an obsession (of my mind?)….
………..but in loving recognition of what once was. I am truly grateful if Ms. Steel or a kind person on the forum knows this poem. Thank you. Stay, healthy, happy, and safe.