a year ago December 15th we lost arguably the best voice that has ever existed for Atheism. i'm not saying that he was the most important person for the Atheist cause. i'm simply stating that no other user of words has been as effective at using them on behalf of our cause as was Hitch.
i remember the day he died like it was yesterday. i was getting excited for the Reason Rally which was to be held in about 4 months. Xmas was around the corner and i had a Hitch book on my wish list. when the news hit it hit hard. we all knew he was sick, but the finality of his death and the realization that i would never hear a new anything from him was jolting.
i spent that day reading online eulogies, re-watching debates, and crying. i went out and bought a bottle of Johnny Black and started inhaling it early. each glass a reminder of the man's zest for life, and his untimely death. it was a bittersweet day. so many public accolades were pouring in. people who had never heard of him were finding out who he was and what he stood for. religious leaders were even offering warm hearted reflections of the man, the debater, the scholar, the writer, the historian, and yes, the Atheist.
i found myself remembering that day about 10 days ago, and meant to write something about Hitch on his anniversary. it was a day i will never forget, and i am truly ashamed that when the day came i forgot. however, as i used to tell my teachers when i would hand in a homework assignment late - "better late than never".
so here's to the late GREAT Christopher Hitchens. you will not be forgotten. we miss you. here's a montage for anyone who wants to remember with me.
I just noted that myself, Matthew ... though I don't know as I'm feeling ashamed about it. I find myself quoting Hitchens all the time, particularly his statement that: "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence" (which really riles some believers, though they don't seem to have a counter for it). While I'm not as eager to debate as I used to be (the same arguments from the other side get tiresome after a while), I am constantly reminded of the potent arguments Christopher brought to any and every encounter he had. And while I may never have the width and breadth of knowledge he had, any time I make a statement about atheism, I want that statement to have the strength and incisiveness which were Hitch's unmistakeable trademark.
I think it may be better to use him as inspiration in our own encounters and struggles against theism than merely to set aside a day to remember him. I know that's what I want to do.
good point, Loren. but why can't or shouldn't we do both. one thing that i always liked about my father's Jewish tradition was the lighting of candles on the anniversary of the death of a loved one. i know we try to remember, but sometimes setting aside a day for just remembering can be helpful.