Friday, November 11, 2005

Remember Them

Take a moment today to ponder the magnificent courage our veterans have shown — and the sacrifices they’ve made — that allow us to enjoy the marvelous freedom and safety that we have. I stand in humbled awe of our warriors, both of the glorious past and the equally glorious present. And if you see a member of our armed forces today … take a moment to thank them.

Those who know me well know that I am nearly perfectly immune to the allure of poetry. So you may be surprised to see a poem reproduced here. But the poem below, which I first encountered 30+ years ago when it was read at a U.S. Navy Veterans Day commemoration, has always been able to bring a tear to my eyes.

And the photo at right — what can I say that the photo does not aleady say far more eloquently?


With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children

England mourns for her dead across the sea,

Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,

Fallen in the cause of the free.


Solemn the drums thrill: Death august and royal

Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres,

There is music in the midst of desolation

And glory that shines upon our tears.


They went with songs to the battle, they were young,

Straight of limb, true of eyes, steady and aglow,

They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,

They fell with their faces to the foe.


They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn

At the going down of the sun and in the morning

We will remember them.


They mingle not with their laughing comrades again,

They sit no more at familiar tables of home,

They have no lot in our labour of the daytime,

They sleep beyond England’s foam.


But where our desires and hopes profound,

Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,

To the innermost heart of their own land they are known

As the stars are known to the night.


As the stars shall be bright when we are dust,

Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain,

As the stars that are stary in the time of our darkness,

To the end, to the end, they remain.


Laurence Binyon, 1914

We will remember them.

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