This weekend marked the three hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the Great Fire of London, which destroyed roughly four-fifths of the city over the course of four days in 1666.
One of the most interesting – and certainly most visual – commemorations of the fire occurred last night, when a one hundred and twenty-meter replica of the city (created by American artist David Best with the assistance of hundreds of unemployed youth) went up in flames on the River Thames.
On the surface, it seems like an incredibly strange component of an equally strange observance. And it would be strange, if it were a narrative – or an observance – about destruction.
But it’s not about destruction. It’s about what came after the destruction – a new city with the heart of phoenix, rising from the ashes of the old.
It’s about rebirth. It’s about recovery. It’s about renewal. It’s about resilience. It’s about strength. It’s about survival.
And that’s something worth celebrating.
Last night’s fiery commemoration on the River Thames is a reminder that we aren’t really defined by the hardships that we face. We’re really defined by the way that we respond to them.