Beyond a Founders' Memorial, build a monument to the people

Great leaders are important but are nothing without the many seen and unseen people and acts that support them

Firefighters working on a balcony of Paris' Notre-Dame cathedral last Friday, four days after a fire destroyed its spire and roof. France plans to rebuild the iconic cathedral in just five years, for it embodies not only the religious spirit of those
Firefighters working on a balcony of Paris' Notre-Dame cathedral last Friday, four days after a fire destroyed its spire and roof. France plans to rebuild the iconic cathedral in just five years, for it embodies not only the religious spirit of those who worship there, but also the spirit of a nation.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

I started drafting this article last week and was mulling over the poem The Builder by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. It reads:

All are architects of Fate,
Working in these walls of Time;
Some with massive deeds and great,
Some with ornaments of rhyme.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 23, 2019, with the headline 'Beyond a Founders' Memorial, build a monument to the people'. Subscribe