A Somber Moment Amidst The Frivolity Of The Willy Street Festival
There is no better way to wind down summer than by attending the Willy Street Festival. It is one great eclectic weekend of fantastic food, international music, and amusing sights.
It is pure fun on the Madison isthmus.
Which is why the sign in the Willy Street Parade, which I love and seem to advertise to friends year-round, made such an impression. The sign stood out. It was written by someone’s quick hand on simple cardboard type paper and stapled to a wooden stake. It was unlike anything else in this year’s parade.
Yet for all the simplicity it made me stop snapping pictures when it came into view.
We always hear about the soldiers who get killed in battle. They always gain full press coverage for the work they do, and receive expressions of a grateful nation.
But the statesmen who work tirelessly striving to create conditions so conflicts and disagreements do not lead to war and bloodshed are never as revered.
But they should be.
The death this week of Chris Stevens is a reminder of who the important parts of our international outreach efforts really are for the United States. Reading many of the stories about Stevens paints a picture of a man who understood the best way to show American influence was to enable people around the world to enhance their freedoms.
The reason Stevens found himself in the middle of strife that would claim his life was due to the opening of a center that would contain a library and computers with internet access. He championed nation-building in the truest sense of the phrase.
After a very long week of sad news from around the globe the sun was bright for the parade, a warm breeze blew off Lake Monona, and children could be heard laughing from every direction.
But the sign stood out, and for me it became quiet for a moment as I reflected an inner ‘Thank You” to Chris Stevens as the sign passed me by.
I never saw it again for the remainder of the day, and have no knowledge of who carried it.
And it does not matter.
It was however a message that many who live in this community share. The best among us are those who work for peace.