Walking with Alex later last night, while the rest of the team enjoyed much-needed sleep on the hard linoleum floor, the nature of our work became clearer to me than ever before. We spent two weeks in intensive preparation, amassing all manner of physical, tactical, and emotional skills and tools to help us on our journey. We were broken up into small units, each specializing on a different campaign, and sent out into the world, to live and work with only what we can carry. We can call for support from base, and we have supervising officers to advise us, but largely, out here, we are on our own. The fraying desperation of the last forty-eight hours brought home just how true that is, as did the swell of morale when Dorian, the Brass, came in to observe our unit in action and complemented us on a job well done.
We are not soldiers. We are not asked to die, we are not asked to kill, and, as a result, our campaign does not stink with the same odor of fear and morbidity that plagues those at war. Still, the bare asceticism of our lives, the urgency of our work, and the remote independence of our unit have deep parallels in military life. We fight with words and rallies, not guns, and we seek to first win hearts and minds, and then introduce a new order, instead of the other way around. Wilfred Owen said, with bitter irony, dulce et decorum est, pro patria mori. To this, I say, that we who wage peace have found a better way. No matter how bleak things seem, the Turtle children stick together, and uncertainty and instability in our lives will not interfere with our mission. We thrive because we are free to be silly, to recline from time to time in the beauty of our surroundings, and, above all else, to love.
I am writing today from a coffee shop in Northampton. Our rally tomorrow, coincidentally, marks the 223rd anniversary of the storming of the Bastille. Tomorrow, we challenge a prison of a different kind, a prison of entrenched lifestyle and infrastructure that is slowly poisoning our air, water, and future. Our battle will be a bloodless one, and the banner we raise calls the people of Northampton, of Massachusetts, of all of America to wage a revolution within their own lives and build a better way. The time of change through cannons and bullets is over, but the need for radical action is no less urgent. In the name of all, past and present, who struggle and strive to see a better world dawn, I say to you now,
Dulce et decorum est, pro vive orbis