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I've never actually seen any eternal flame go out, so I'm guessing they have some pretty good backup processes in place. But the cynic in me still thinks hanging the word "eternal" on something is a bit of a stretch.
Long-lived flame? Better-than-temporary flame? Sure. But eternal? I don't know about you, but I'm willing to bet if the future me pops back in, oh, 10,000 years, the light won't be on. Indeed, I'm guessing all evidence of the building will be gone, as well.
Forgive me for having a little fun with the concept of eternal. I realize it's just symbolic. And by using the very word, it forces us to think longer-term, bigger-picture. It's more virtual than real. And that was just fine for me on this bright afternoon as I stood underneath this remarkable creation and thought about things bigger than me.
Your turn: What does "eternal" mean to you?