Rev. Meredith Garmon
I know that many of us are conflicted about glorifying war, violence, and nationalism.
Many of us are cognizant that courage and heroism and sacrifice are found in all vocations. And that, for example, teachers, nurses, social workers, and employees of nonprofits serve and protect our nation’s thriving as much as soldiers do.
I know that many of us believe that US war-fighting has had less to do with preserving freedom than with preserving corporate profits, and that anyone volunteering for armed service must know that, or should. Whatever your beliefs about that, let us remember our fallen warriors.
Let us remember our loss -- the young lives, jewels of their families and their communities, that were taken from us. Let us remember, and discern what meaning we can from of our loss, for, as Archibald MacLeish says:
The young dead soldiers do not speak.Remembering, then, let us re-commit to building and strengthening institutions of peace, that none of our children’s children will be remembered by the generations following them for having died in war.
Nevertheless, they are heard in the still houses:
who has not heard them?
They have a silence that speaks for them at night
and when the clock counts.
They say: We were young. We have died.
They say: We have done what we could
but until it is finished it is not done.
They say: We have given our lives but until it is finished
no one can know what our lives gave.
They say: Our deaths are not ours: they are yours,
they will mean what you make them.
They say: Whether our lives and our deaths were for
peace and a new hope or for nothing we cannot say,
it is you who must say this.
We leave you our deaths.
Give them their meaning.
We were young, they say.
We have died; remember us.