You go to the source of the action,
You take the risk,
The Ukrainian soldier tells you as much as he’s allowed
And you sift through it all to capture the essence,
Their humanity, their fears, their courage.
At those moments, when you’re listening and carefully observing
all that you’ve been allowed to immerse in,
you become one of them.
A Russian missile could be about to land where you are taking notes,
yet you steel yourself to capture all that is noteworthy before your senses.
Sights, smells, sounds, taste and touch,
And then you send it all to us,
To anyone who’s open to taking it in,
You send it condensed into words that leap across nations and oceans
to elicit thoughts and emotions that then carry us back
to your side,
at that soldier’s side,
and a bridge is built.
By your actions you enlarge our minds,
Sharpen our judgments,
make possible the flowering of empathy,
the deepening of solidarity,
the evincing of conviction in the purpose.
For some of the soldiers you interview,
that moment you shared with the rest of us may become the paper clipping
his family will treasure, maybe even the only memento if the soldier is blown up the next day
and doesn’t get to return from the front to embrace his wife and children.
With your writing you reach out and capture life,
You enrich, expand and lengthen it,
You frame the heroism of those men
Fighting against forces of darkness that seek to entomb them and us all.
Your efforts help create a new consciousness that is critical to embolden the world’s fight for freedom.
Gifted men and women,
warriors in defense of ideas and humanity,
we are most grateful for your strength,
your vision and commitment.
Without you the world would be darker and cripple our minds,
Our thoughts and feelings wouldn’t take wing
and instead crash on the rocks of ignorance.
From all those whose lives you’ve touched with your reporting,
The pursuit of liberty would not be possible without you.