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FROM THE EDITOR'S PEN  / Lincolnís Tears / Editorial List

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Aids Quilt

1996 NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt Washington D.C. ©Gary Barg

 

And then she came before us. She took her position on the stage as in life, with confidence. She stood there, with the great stone figure of Lincoln behind her, facing the inspiration of the Washington Monument, which could only be built when the citizens of this nation pulled together for its common cause. Before her, loomed the Capitol, where people who could affect her very survival worked each day and probably never knew until now that she existed. And she faced us, a vast sea of twinkling lights. The strength of her commitment and the power in her presentation defied her age, her frailty. ďI am the face of AIDS. I am living with the HIV virus.Ē Her name is Precious, and she is four years old. 

As Precious spoke, it occurred to me that while she was looking down at thousands of candles held high, she saw more than just the candles. She saw you and me and my mom and every person who dares to care for any person with any illness, in any pain. For her, the sea of light was the warmth and brightness of those who care, as much as it was a sea of remembrance for those who need our care. The tears we shed did not wash away the flame. Instead, it grew into the brighter light of encompassing love and unification within the masses that stood listening to the words of the tiny figure before us.

Beyond Precious, I could see Lincolnís strong and benevolent face. I wondered if he understood how the Union he loved so dearly could stand by in silence for so long. Did he understand why the people of his nation did nothing as their children, their sons and daughters, died of AIDS? Did it break his heart, as it breaks the hearts of those who do care, those who do fight, those who wonít give up? When Precious ended her speech, I looked again into the face of Lincoln, and I could swear I saw a tear roll down his cheek.

 

 

 

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