Author’s Note: This story was written in honour of the evacuees of the Fort McMurray fires of 2016. So many people have lost everything and the fire is still raging on. My prayers and thoughts are with you all.
“Billy,” said his wife, Dianne. “What are you doing? We have to go. You have a concert in less than an hour.”
“I am just finishing up my new song,” said Billy.
“Can it wait?” asked Dianne. “We don’t want to be late.”
“It is finished,” said Billy. “This is for the fires that are burning in Fort McMurray right now.”
“Oh,” said Dianne. “Can I hear it?”
Billy strummed his guitar slowly at first and then he sped up the strumming, almost as if his guitar was roaring like the sound of fire.
“The fires burning in Fort McMurray,” Billy sang in a harsh voice. “Are forcing everyone to flee. They are knocking out whole neighborhoods. It is not a sight to see. ”
Billy strummed his guitar louder and harsher as he sang the chorus to his new song, “The fires are not going to defeat them. The people of Fort McMurray are standing strong. Together they will win this fight. They will fight until the fire is gone.”
“Wow,” said Dianne with tears in her eyes. “That is a pretty powerful song.”
“Yes,” said Billy. “It is and I am going to play it at the concert tonight.”
Billy walked onstage and the crowd roared.
“Are there any evacuees here from Fort McMurray?” Billy asked.
A few hands popped up as a spotlight searched them out.
This first song is for you people of Fort McMurray and what you are facing right now.
Billy stopped singing. He motioned for each of the evacuees to come up on stage and he allowed each of them to tell their story.
“I work in the oil fields,” said one man. “We were asked to leave work to evacuate the area. I wasn’t allowed to go home to gather my belongings or my pets.”
“I was at work at a dental office,” said one young woman. “My house is gone. I lost everything.”
Others shared stories about the destruction and the fear they felt leaving their homes and their lives behind as they were forced to flee.
“I don’t know what to say,” said Billy, tears stinging his eyes. “I dedicate my new song to you and wish everyone here all the best.”
Billy sang the rest of his new song, tears running down his cheeks.
Are forcing everyone to flee
They are knocking out whole neighborhoods
It is not a sight to see
Everyone is helping out
The people of Fort McMurray
Are giving an angered shout
The people of Fort McMurray are standing strong
Together they will win this fight
They will fight until the fire is gone
These fires must be stopped
The people of Fort McMurray are fighting hard
Their perseverance will not be topped”