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Before the day was divided into hours and minutes, and time was told using sundials and water clocks, the day and the night were divided into “watches”. In Judean culture originally night was divided into 3 segments from sundown to sun up. This changed however during the Roman occupation, a fourth watch or Quarta Vigilia Noctis was added. A watch comprised a 3 hour segment of time where guards were posted as sentinels, to be vigilant and attentive prepared to protect others in the event of danger or peril. First watch was considered to be from what is now 6PM to 9PM. The second watch from 9PM to Midnight, the 3rd watch from Midnight to 3AM and the 4th watch felt to be the darkest part of the night, from 3AM to sunrise around 6AM. It was the time when others slept and were at their most vulnerable. It was also felt to be the time when misfortune and evil visited taking advantage of the tired state of others. Christianity references the 4th watch as the time of night when the disciples, sent out on the Sea of Galilee by Jesus, met with a storm and were in great peril of perishing. Jesus walked to them on the water with light and reassurances that they would never be alone, that he would always be with them. That he would be eternally watchful and protect them throughout time. Christians look to this scripture as an example of staying in faith and hope when things are at their darkest in life.
Over time the expression “it’s always darkest before the dawn” came to represent this same sentiment of the 4th watch, no matter how dire an event or situation may be, with the light will come relief, hope and help. This is the comfort felt with the flashing emergency lights perched atop an ambulance by those who summoned them in their vulnerable hour.
Artist Marc Lacoursiere embodied this sentiment in his artistic representation Lights of Comfort, which features local EMS paramedics doing what is there passion. EMS Lights of comfort honours that service of paramedics who when… “A frantic call is placed when the normal pace of life stands still in the moments after an emergency. As the distant sounds of sirens grow nearer everyone knows help is close at hand when the EMS arrive on the scene. Whether by land or by air they respond 24 hours a day, 7 days a week wherever disaster strikes.” Motor Marc
Marc helped to inspire us as a memorial with his art and his gracious donation a Lights of Comfort print to the first Bill Macri Scholarship recipient awarded in 2014. We continue to award this print each year. We are grateful for his support.