Friday, May 06, 2016

Our Great Canadian Motto

I've been watching the news coverage on the Fort McMurray wildfires steadily for the past three days. An hour in the morning to get caught up on what happened overnight, and two hours in the evening because that's when the personal stories are shared.
In one day, the size went from 10,000 hectares in the morning to 85,000 in the evening. (And as of this evening, more than 100,000 hectares burning, a "self-perpetuating firestorm" that only heavy rain will stop.)
Time will tell if my memories of editing my Field Notes book are tied to my memories of watching the wildfire footage on the television.
I have nothing new to add to the story, no perspective that is worth sharing -- the videos and photos and personal stories say it all -- but I will write about what I think is our true Canadian motto: "Bon courage." Be brave. Don't give up. That quote was spoken in a CBC news report this morning, advice to the residents of Fort McMurray from a man in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, who lost three family members and an employee in the train explosion there three years ago.
When I think of the pilots of the water bombers and helicopters flying into the smoke and the flames, I wish them bon courage.
When I look at the firefighters and police officers working ground level in the fire zone, I wish them bon courage.
When I look at the families carrying nothing but their children as they head to evacuation centres, I wish them bon courage.
When I think of those 88,000 people who know their home -- both house and city -- is decimated, whether literally or metaphorically, that before the years of rebuilding begin, there are weeks and months of uncertainty and displacement, I wish them bon courage.
When I see the response of every other Canadian (and non-Canadians like Syrian refugees who "know what it's like"), I believe strongly in our collective, national BON COURAGE.

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