As a professional confrere, I address to you these few words from a time and place that is both very different in its conditions and circumstance, but sadly all too familiar in its themes and demeanor.
It was the poet Delmore Schwartz who observed that “time is the fire in which we burn” and, indeed, there is something to be said for the agony to which we are subjected by the revelations of time, and the process of the terrible insight thus gained. Reaching back to you across the years is a bittersweet process and not one completely without pain. I write to you from across that barrier of time with the burden of knowledge that is concomitant to its passing and what is thus revealed.
I write not to burden you with the vagaries of the future but to offer you some solace with respect to your present. Know this, that whatever may come to pass in the coming months, as the mettle of those who strive for freedom is tested in the crucible of armed conflict, that your efforts and those of your brothers and sisters in arms will be remembered, will be cherished, and will be consecrated in the will to bring about profound change to the world. Your generation is being asked to make supreme sacrifices, but the generations that follow will endeavor to vouchsafe that those sacrifices were not in vain.
Yet, I cannot say that there is no more evil in the world, though this, I am sure, is no surprise to you as this is not the way of the world. Today, we find ourselves faced with many of the choices you face in your time, but we face them with one clear advantage. The example of what has gone before, in your willingness and that of your generation to enthusiastically embrace the hazards of resistance, must put steel in our spines. With the light of your history on our path, perhaps this time we will rise to the occasion with enough swiftness and certitude to stop the darkness before it has the chance to engulf us. If we are successful in this labor, it is in no small degree due to the deeds and resolve of individuals like yourself. For this my gratitude. May it serve in some modest fashion to bolster your resolve and to ease your soul in the days to come.
Mark Vitullo ,
Docent Engels language center