I was walking from the parking garage to the building in which I work this morning. As I came closer to the middle of the campus, I began to hear faint sounds of music of some sort. A few more steps, and the music was distinguishable as bagpipes. One bagpipe, to be more specific.
As I rounded the corner and came in sight of the Parade, as we call the large grassy area in the midst of the campus, I could see him. The lone piper, standing roughly in the middle of the Parade, slowly walking back and forth, and piping a quiet, beautiful tune that I did not recognize.
As odd as it may sound, I like bagpipes, when they are well played. The deep, rather plaintive sounds will often bring out that savage beast.
It was clear why the piper was on the Parade. This is the fifth anniversary of 9/11. I'm quite sure the president of the university himself arranged for the piper, who is probably a student at the university.
For the most part, I've avoided all references to this particular anniversary, mainly because I think it is too politicized. I'm tired of elected officials using what should be a nonpolitic moment of remembrance for those lost to further their own private agendas -- not to mention the media stations and channels using it to gain more listeners/watchers.
But walking to the office this morning, the lone piper set a tone for the day, and the campus, although busy at 8:15 in the morning -- students, faculty, and staff chatting as they walked -- became a bit more hushed, more reverent, as they came close enough to hear the piper.
There was no commercialism or media in this moment, just the wail of the pipes in the chill morning air. And isn't that the best way to remember?